It has become a summer tradition for us to spend a week at the beach with our best friends. Our “framily“, if you will. Altogether, there are 9 of us – 4 adults and 5 kids – and we rent a big beach house and function as a big, loud, happy family unit for a week.
On the earliest trips, when the kids were younger, the ratio of kids to adults meant that there was always a kid convinced that one of the adults had “promised” something to the group. The 4 of us would practically hold staff meetings and develop a party line on the things the kids were lobbying for, trying to seal off the cracks where the kids might insert their own interpretations as much as possible.
But careful communication does nothing to prevent selective hearing, so statements like “we will go to Mister Whippy if its too rainy to go to the beach” or “we can go to the waterpark if it is open” usually ended with someone gravely disappointed. “But Mom promised!” “But Dad PROMISED!!”
‘BUTTTT YOUUUUU PROMISSSEEEEEDDDDDD!!!?!?!?!?!”
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:33
I think sometimes we read the Word and pull promises from it the same way my son pulls promises from offhanded comments about milk shakes. I have seen inspirational posters using just part of the scripture above: “But take heart! I have overcome the world”.
But that does such a disservice – not just to our understanding, but to the promise itself.
The promise isn’t that you will never face suffering; to believe that is to end up gravely disappointed, or worse, deeply disillusioned. Jesus knows this, which is why He tells us – “you will have trouble”. No doubt.
The promise is that, despite our inevitable trouble, in Him we will have peace. We will have peace because He has overcome the world.
This is a promise that we will endure; that the worst thing is never the last thing; that surely He will be with us to the very end of the age.