Download LifeDate Summer 2021
by Dr. Barbara Geistfeld, LFL Regional Director of Texas
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19 NIV)
What happened in your life and in the lives of your dear family and friends in the last year? Illness, loneliness, fear of the future, death of these same family members or dear friends, depression, anxiety, loss of jobs or homes, loss of entire livelihoods, broken relationships, strained relationships? As you watch the news reports even now, do not the problems in the world become magnified until everything our hearts and minds visualize is seen through the lens of fear and uncertainty?
“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.” (John 16:33 NIV)
You know how someone may say to you, “I have good news and bad news. Which do you want to hear first?” Well, let’s start with the bad news. As bad as things have been in our own private world and the world around us, they are going to get worse. Our world will become more and more anti-Christian. Its values are not our values, so the distance between our beliefs and the world’s behaviors will grow exponentially as time passes. Tensions will increase, not decrease. The world hates us. It will always hate us. We know this because Jesus told us this would happen. Scripture does not paint a rosy picture of the world’s future. Think Armageddon. When we think to ourselves, If we just work harder or pray more or fast or elect this group or that group, or try this program or that program, everything will turn out fine, we are being very unwise. Jesus says very plainly, “In this world you will have trouble.” Lots of trouble. The Apostle Paul also tells us to expect trouble. Lots of trouble. He tells us to “glory in our sufferings,” knowing full well that suffering comes at us continually.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access, by faith, into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:1-5 NIV)
So where is the good news? As always, the Good News, capital “G,” capital “N,” is Jesus. He lives in our hearts through His Holy Spirit. He walks with us every minute of our lives when we remain in Him as He remains in us. The vine and the branches, the living water that overflows, the light of the world shining into the darkness through us! His light becomes our light as we live in this troubled world. Jesus gives us the perseverance, the character, the hope. Jesus helps us strengthen our trembling knees, encourages our timid souls, and frees our paralyzed voices. Yes, with Jesus, we can make things better in our world, one small victory at a time. Bad news—good news? Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Good news doesn’t get any better than that!