The virus seems like it will never go away. It began as a ripple and quickly grew into a tsunami. Now, we are in the eighth month of the year, and nothing has changed. No vaccine and no sure cure. Only masks, social distancing and questions…lots and lots of questions. Weeks have stretched into months with no end in sight. 2020 will definitely go down in the history books as a very weird year. Covid-19 is just one reason.
No one is assured of dodging this mysterious bullet. It afflicts the young and old, male and female, all races and every country. It is the ultimate equal opportunity enemy. While we hide inside, turmoil is waiting outside. Unrest has come to much of the U.S. adding to this uniquely strange year. Statues are falling, cities are being seized, buildings are burning and elected officials are at a loss. No one knows how or when any of this will end. Well, no one but God.
As Jesus prepared His apostles for His impending execution, He spoke words intended to prepare them. The world would soon escalate in its hostility toward Him. The unseen virus that we call sin would soon unleash its full fury. The forces were gathering at that moment and would soon show up with torches and weapons. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace (John 16:33).” He began the conversation reassuring their potentially troubled hearts (John 14:1), and closed it with a message of peace. The Lord knows just what this world has to offer and exactly what His disciples need.
He is both accurate and encouraging. “In the world you have tribulation…” He does not dodge the issue nor does He paint an unrealistic picture. They were facing a day unlike any other. Darkness and death were coming. The evil in His own circle would reveal itself in betrayal. Peter’s courage would fail him. Wickedness and weakness would rule the day, or so it would seem. Looming over it all, as unlikely as it appeared, was the throne of God. The ungodly carried out His plan.
“…but take courage; I have overcome the world.” It would surely be hard to discern the hand of God in the midst of all that would soon be happening, and it appeared to be anything but overcoming. Sin would be met and defeated. Forgiveness would be possible. An empty tomb would promise hope forever.
This world is a tough place with plenty of troubles. Viruses taunt us and haunt us. Unrest ripples through our streets. We are puzzled and uncertain, but the Lord is not. He has been through it all and emerged scarred but victorious. He left footprints, not just to the cross but beyond it through the tomb and to the right hand of God. It is up to us to follow them.