First Corinthians 1:8-10 says this: “We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And, he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.”
Some days in the middle of our messy lives, we feel utterly and unbearably weighed down, crushed, overwhelmed. But God in his goodness and grace stands ready to rescue us. I think it takes the moment when we realize that it is out of our control, that we must fully rely on God. There is an end to ourselves, our ability, our resources… but, there is no end to God’s.
Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have perfect peace and confidence. In the world, you will have trouble – tribulation and trials and distress and frustrations; but, be of good cheer (take courage, be confident, certain, undaunted). For I have overcome the world. (I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you).” John 16:33
What does confidence in Jesus look like? It means to set our hope, our joyful expectation, in him. We begin to look at our messy days like this: “In this world, we will have ______________.” Fill in the blank with whatever your trouble, tribulation, trial, distress or frustration may be. Then claim this: “But, Jesus has already overcome _____________.”
William James, the father of American Psychology, said “The greatest weapon against stress is to choose one thought over another.” I don’t know if he was a Christian or not. However, scripture speaks to the same thing. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” When we begin to speak truth over our messy lives, taking captive our thoughts, the stress starts to be replaced by peace that passes understanding. When we begin to rely on God, rather than ourselves, we choose to battle the stress of our messy lives.
I have had several opportunities this past week to apply this truth: when the car battery died and the alarm continued to go off over and over again; when my son was suffering with a severe migraine and vomiting in the car; when a loved one was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Whether in our small frustrations or our painful trials, Jesus said that in Him we can have peace. He knows the end of the story. He knows how this day will turn out. He knows how he will work all things together for good. We don’t have to be all, do all, solve all. We can stop relying on ourselves. We simply must trust the truth and rely on him. Today, I will choose to set my hope in him. He has overcome!