Suffering Is Hard, But Christ Has Overcome The World…

In the last verse of John 16 Jesus says, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” He tells His disciples this after telling them of His coming suffering on the cross and the suffering that will befall them as they live in this broken world as Christians. He fully acknowledges that this world is broken and that we will suffer… But, though suffering will come He calls us to take heart… Why? Because He has overcome the world; that is, He has conquered, He is victorious…

In Revelation 5:5 John is told to, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered.” And how has He conquered? He was slain, and by His blood He ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation (Revelation 5:9)… Jesus has conquered the world: He has conquered sin, Satan, and death through His death and resurrection… Jesus overcomes the world through the cross…

Paul emphasizes this same thing when he says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?… Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:31, 34-39)…

So, if we take these truths all together, we see that because of who Christ is, because He loves us, and because He has overcome the world nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus… But, in this broken world it often feels like suffering and the like is constantly trying to pull us away from this love… In fact, in the midst of suffering we often don’t feel loved by God at all… Elizabeth Elliot once spoke to this, saying, “Does He love us? No, is what our circumstances seem to say. Yet to turn our eyes back to Cross is to see irrefutable proof.” Or as Paul says in Romans 5:8, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

In the midst of trials it’s often hard to see this love… We are too focused on our pain to feel loved… We should be amazed that God loves us at all, we should be amazed by grace, asking God, “Why me? Why do You love me?” But, in the midst of the pain we ask a very different, “Why me?” We want to know why we are suffering… We feel like we’re being wronged when suffering befalls us… But as Jesus tells us in the close of John 16, we will have tribulation, suffering will come… It’s just the reality we live in… But Jesus has overcome the world… And His victory over the world will eventually fix all that is broken… As Charles Spurgeon once said, “Patience believer, eternity will right the wrongs of time.” One day Jesus will fix all that is broken: His nail-scarred hands will wipe our tear-stained eyes dry, and we will never weep again… All because Jesus has overcome…

So beloved, let the words of Christ encourage you… He has overcome, and therefore suffering will not have the last say in your life… In fact, even the pain in our life is an instrument in the Redeemer’s hands for our joy… For, “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)… God is using the hardest things in our life for our good… Suffering is hard for many reasons, not least of which is because it reminds us how not in control we are, and how little power we actually have… But that’s ok, because God is sovereign and good, and works all things for the good of His people, therefore whatever our God ordains is right

Jesus’ victory should encourage our soul… This life is hard and it’s easy to grow weary, but in those moments we must run to the one who said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30)… Run to Him again and again… He is our refuge…

Christ is all!

Nick Esch