Most of us are familiar with John 16:33, which says: “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.”
For some reason there are people, both Christians and non-Christians, who seem to think once you give your life to Christ, your life should be smooth and you should be free of troubles. This is far from the truth. As humans, and especially as Christians, we are guaranteed to have trouble in this life. The verse quoted above from John promises it.
Why Do We Go Through Troubles?
The World Is Fallen
This world is fallen and full of sin. God’s world was perfect in the beginning. When humans chose sin and selfishness over God, the world became imperfect and we still suffer from the consequences today.
The troubles we go through aren’t God’s judgment or punishment, although He often uses them to get our attention or discipline us in a loving and constructive way. Most of the time, the darkness we experience is just the absence of God.
People often wonder, “why is there evil in the world?” Evil exists in the world because God is pure goodness. If God is pure goodness, then the absence of God is evil. You can’t have one without the other.
God doesn’t force himself on us. He wants us to choose Him, because love isn’t true love if it’s not a choice. God isn’t after obedience. He wants our hearts. So when people choose not to love God, they are living in an absence of God and are inviting evil to come in. This happens all over our world every day, and the effects are so widespread we will never fully understand them.
Another thing we will never understand is God’s most intricate plan that involves all of us. Everything that happens in the world in part of His plan. Every good and every bad event has more ripple effects than we can ever imagine. So many people and circumstances are affected now and far down the line in the future from just one simple decision or event.
So if you’re in the midst of a trial, know that it is not all for naught. God is working through it like only He can. Eventually you’ll understand some of the reasons why God put you through that trial, though God’s plan is so complex that we can never fully understand how we fit into it.
This not knowing should be comforting to us. Think about this: Do we really want our God whom we worship and rely on for everything to have so simple a plan that we can understand it? The fact that it is beyond us should give us some peace. Our God is beyond amazing. He is all-powerful and all-knowing and is working everything that goes on in this world into His perfect plan.
Also, the pressure is off of us because it is out of our hands. We don’t need to spend time trying to figure out what’s really going on because we never will, and God has it under control anyway. Instead, we can focus on living our lives for God and submitting to His will every day, for He is the only one who truly knows best.
How Can We Have Peace?
Let Go of Control
Releasing our imaginary control is the first step to reaching peace. God wants to give us peace, but we have to accept it. So many times God is hovering over us, wanting desperately to give us the peace He knows we need, but we’re frantically scrambling about, not paying attention because we’re trying to control everything and figure everything out ourselves. We need to be still in order to open our hearts to God. We need to let go in order to hold on to His peace.
Hanging on to our illusion of control only makes us tired, frustrated, and bitter. Of course, there are always things we can do to make our situation better, and God doesn’t want us to just sit by idly and do nothing. But for the most part, we need to remember who’s really in control and listen to Him to help guide us. Instead of making our own agenda and worrying and fussing over what to put on it, we can let God give us His agenda.
God is Working
When we go through trials, we must never forget that God is working and is still in charge. As mentioned before, we can never fully know what God is up to in the midst of our troubles. However, we can know that He is there in the midst of our troubles. He is right there with us working on our behalf. He cares about our situation even more than we do, and He is way more capable than we are of turning it into something beautiful.
When we have this kind of faith in our great God, we can walk in the midst of trouble with peace. We can rest assured that God is in control, no matter what happens.
Isaiah 26:3 says: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Therefore, the key to peace is trusting in God. When we trust in God, we no longer feel the weight and pressure of doing it all on our own. That’s where the peace comes from. And the way we trust in God is to get to know Him better through prayer and worship, and to meditate on His word. When we trust that God is in control and working in our lives right there with us, we can go through anything.