But then yesterday, as my dad preached at a local nursing home, he read this verse:
"...These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33
The word "overcome" practically leaped out at me. I knew I had a word--what I'm still not sure of is if it's for me, or for me to give. We shall see, on that one. But regardless, it's a word that we all need reminded of, isn't it?
In the Message version, that verse reads like this:
"...I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”
I think the word "conquer" is even stronger than "overcome"--to my mind, at least, it doesn't just mean being the victor over what comes upon you, but actively engaging in a battle that we win. That, my friends, is what the Church needs to do in this world!
I don't want to just paste the whole section from John in here, as it's a little long, but some context is actually really illuminating. Jesus had just told them that he'd be leaving, they'd be sorrowful, but that then he'd be back and their sorrow would turn to joy. Then He says:
24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full . . . . 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.
This part really struck me as I read it. We all know the verse: you don't have because you don't ask. But 26 is pretty amazing too. Here, Jesus is saying that when we ask in His name, it isn't that He's beseeching the Father on our behalf. It's that, because we believe in Him, God will answer us. How amazing is that?
I don't know what trials and tribulations will come upon any of us in 2017. There will be some--there always are. Individual ones, and ones that strike the Church, the country, the whole world. I don't know what this word might pertain to in particular. But I do know this.
He has overcome. He has conquered. And because of that, when we ask in His name--if we ask in His name--we will conquer too.