"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."
There are many promises Jesus makes that sit well with us: promises of hope, of sanctification, of eternal life. And then there is the one promise that we don’t like: the promise that we will suffer. Hardship in this life will come because creation has fallen with us. Our suffering may be because we have told God that we don’t need Him, so He has left us to our sins. Many times the harsh circumstances we suffer seem to have no explanation at all. In one way or another, suffering will come upon us.
Paul tells us to count this suffering as proof that Christ has claimed us. Because we follow Christ who knew true pain and loss, we should expect that we also will experience pain and loss. But unlike those who don’t trust in Christ, our afflictions are already overcome and will one day be fully redeemed. Jesus tells us to take heart; the war is decisively over, and Christ has won. The battles that still go on are only because Satan is fighting back in his dying rage.
Take heart, Jesus says. Trust in me.
WE SHOULD BE PREPARED FOR BUT NOT DREAD SUFFERING. WE COUNT IT AS PROOF THAT WE ARE CHRIST'S OWN.