PERSECUTION . . . Conquering the fear

“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.” (Reference: John 16:33 )

I want to apologize, beloved, for the past few days. I have been walking around in sort of a fog, and the stress I have been under is sort of leaking into parts of my life that I do not want it to leak into. It has been hard dealing with the stress in my life and then wrestling with the them of “Persecution.” And we are not at the end of it yet. But this verse from John chapter 16 helped me finally set aside the melancholy and reach a place of peace. The cheery exhortation “But take heart” helped me to do just that, and I wanted to apologize if my dull mood affected you.

The historic Anabaptists also took heart and hope from this passage in John. Not only did they take heart, but they relied on the fact that even if they were persecuted and put to death Jesus was still the victor where and when it counted. Admittedly, when you consider all that happened to the historic Anabaptists and what has happened in the world before that, and since then, it is hard to “take heart” and find peace. And if this world and all the realities in it was all there was, it would be pretty dis-heartening.

But this world is not all there is, and when this world winds down it will not be the powers and principalities that have caused the suffering and persecution what will be the victor. It will be Christ who has prevailed all along and is actually mightier than what has been chasing and scaring God’s followers. And that is where our peace lies. Yes, there will be trouble. And yes, it will not be easy or pleasant. But it will pass. And with the Lord’s strength what is the most important and best of us will survive.

May you, beloved, find the peace of God that sustains you. Selah!