The Bible contains no shortage of God’s promises.
He promises to bless Abraham, his descendants, and all of mankind through his family (Genesis 12).
He promises Israel that He will be their God (Leviticus 26).
He promises blessings to those who find delight in His Word (Psalm 1).
He promises salvation through belief in His Son (John 3:16).
He promises peace and provision (Philippians 4).
Finally, He promises the answer to all of these promises will be “Yes” in Christ (II Corinthians 1:20).
But what about His promise of trouble?
In the world you will have tribulation. John 16:33
What’s up with that?
Sometimes we’d like the answer to the promise of trouble to be “no.” In the midst of a test, my first inclination can be “No, thank you. I’m okay without this particular promise today, Lord.”
But there’s purpose in that trial.
Purpose in the Trouble
“There’s no such thing as a testimony without a test.”
These were the words of my good friends Carey and Aundria Roberts when they shared about their son’s battle through some pretty terrifying health issues.
From the beginning, Carey and Aundria knew something was off in Kydan’s little body. As a baby, they couldn’t lay him down without him throwing up. For the first two years of his life, Aundria held him upright as he slept.
Then came the pauses on the soccer field. The wandering. The walking backwards. The gibberish. Kydan would zone out, only to return unaware that he had gone anywhere.
Eventually, Carey and Aundria learned Kydan was having absent seizures. He was prescribed a new lifestyle of medicine and limited activity. Kydan could no longer play soccer, wrestle with Dad, or run with his friends.
Kydan was placed on medication, resulting in symptoms just as scary as his original illness.
The Lord had placed them squarely in the middle of their test.
When in the midst of our promise of trouble, it can be easy to abandon God’s “good” promises – the promises of peace and comfort, of salvation and rest – in our frustration, anger, or sadness.
When we feel these waves of emotion, we can take our cue from little Kydan, a child of prayer. His focus remained on prayer, for his own situation and others. Aundria remembers the times ambulances would pass by and Kydan would ask to pray, right there and then. Kydan knew what it meant to rest on the promises of the Lord.
Kydan learned the lesson God had for him in his illness. From his test, he received a testimony.
Following a clean bill of health, showing Kydan’s seizures and his need for medication were gone, Kydan could often be heard giving the credit to God.
“My friends prayed for me and Jesus healed me.”
Faith like a child.
How to Rest on God’s Promise of Troubles
See, the key is to read the whole verse.
Jesus doesn’t just promise us trouble and then walk away. He follows it up.
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
The world has only tribulation to offer, but we have no need to lose heart. Jesus has already overcome the world.
What’s more, He doubles down on His goodness. The unfavorable promise is sandwiched between two favorable promises.
In every troublesome situation, he surrounds us with two encouragements:
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
He hasn’t just overcome the world, leaving us there to net zero. He goes beyond, providing God’s promise of peace in the place of our anxieties.
God’s Promises Worth Leaning On
If you find yourself in a troubled place, turn to the Words of the Lord for your comfort.
And 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
Your “things” serve a good purpose.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
God comforts us in affliction. His comfort teaches us how to comfort others in their affliction.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
God’s promise has a protecting peace we can’t even begin to understand.