In This World…

It seems I am obsessed with the problems I face. Lately, I have even begun to chide myself regarding my attitude toward the nature of things. Things just can’t be as bad as I perceive them. Materially, I’ve been given so much. Spiritually, God has blessed me. Yet, there is this overarching feeling and perception of trouble. I see trouble. I hear of trouble. I witness trouble in my friends and family’s lives. I experience trouble of my own. Trouble has become a life companion and Mr. T and I are still learning how to get along. He, Trouble, seems to be less willing and/or able to “learn”. He holds his ground. I, on the other hand, am learning to bend, be malleable (big word meaning “change or die”)

Now, as the picture of the average middle class American, I realize that trouble is in some respects relative. My troubles wouldn’t even compare with some of the troubles faced by others who live in less favorable conditions. Even today, millions are living the lives of refugees from war and are simply hoping to be able to eat for a day.  Millions in Haiti are groping for sustenance and life.  So, I am not saying, “Poor me. My life is a living hell.” By no means am I saying this. I am simply observing that each and every life on this planet, including my own blessed life, is visited, even accompanied daily, by Trouble.

For me, as I look back on my writings and musings, I find myself concentrating on the subject a lot. Truly, I’ve seen some tough things. I won’t delineate these but you can trust me whenever I say that I have encountered Trouble and even now find myself walking with him or it – however you want to look at trouble. It is inevitable in the life of a human. The truth is –  Trouble happens.

In light of this it is sad to think that most walk without the promise of Christ – a promise that gives perspective and strength. Most walk in the sadness of knowing that Trouble is just around the corner and there is nothing that can be done about it. It will come and we must simply grin and bear it. Christ, however, makes a different promise for those who trust Him.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

This has to be one of the most significant statements of encouragement that Jesus ever made and continues to give to those who will trust Him. Trouble is a fact of this world, yet the promise of Christ is just as solid.  Jesus has overcome this world. There is nothing relative about this truth.  It is absolute and applies in every situation.  Worldly Trouble is left impotent. It is short lived and puny. It no longer walks with a capital “T”. trouble is a loser. Jesus has overcome.

More and more I am blessed by the seemingly simple promises of scripture and of Christ. Jesus can negate an entire lifetime of pain and stress with one simple sentence. He is slaying His enemies with the Sword of His Mouth. It is two-edged, cutting both ways as it swings the Truth and Strength of God.

Take heart my brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ HAS OVERCOME the world.

Much love,

Wen

2 thoughts on “In This World…

  1. Not to stir up trouble (ha) but Buddhism also claims to provide a way to overcome the troubles of the world. They claim 4 noble truths (paraphrased).. (a) to live is to suffer or experience unceasing temporary-ness, (b) that irritation about never getting to hold onto something is caused by an attitude of never being satisfied, (c) that there is a way out of that cycle, (d) and the steps to getting out of it, or enlightenment. I think of any of the other primary world religions, Buddhists might be the easiest to witness to since they’ve already got a decent foundation laid.

    1. I do see your point; however, I would be quick to point out (with gentleness and respect) that the ultimate Buddhist enlightenment is to reach a point of no desire. So, it might be summed up by saying that the ultimate desire of Buddhism is the absence of desire. This, of course, is self-defeating. The third noble truth also calls for the relinquishment of “cravings” which, in itself, could easily be seen as a craving. Christ doesn’t call us away from desire but to desire noble, good things. You might find the book, “Who Made God?”, interesting. There is an entire chapter on Buddhism and it is really good in pointing out the areas of the Buddhist system that somewhat “jive” with Christ and those areas that don’t. Buddha was in practice and basic belief an atheist. He could not believe in God because of all of the suffering he saw, thus his desire to walk the road to a place of no suffering. His followers are also fundamentally atheists. Yet, after all of this rambling, I can see where could be a connecting point between Christianity and Buddhism. The path to enlightenment is truly a Person. The way to overcome suffering is through the One who has endured suffering on our behalf. The way to fulfill desire is to make God’s desires our desires. The One who created desire within us would clearly be the One who could accurately tell us how to fulfill them.

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