Take Heart

JAMYE DOERFLER|GUEST In general, I don’t recommend paying close attention to the words written inside a bathroom stall. Twenty years ago, I made an exception to that rule. In one of the women’s bathrooms at the seminary where I worked, someone had posted a Bible verse on the inside of each stall door. On that day, I happened to pick the stall with John 16:33: “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.” (NIV) I’m sure I’d read that verse plenty of times before, but in that moment, seeing it isolated, I was struck more profoundly, and it’s stayed with me since. Let’s look at it closely. “I have told you these things...” The “these things” Jesus refers to is a long monologue He just gave to his disciples, known as “The Farewell Discourse,” recorded in John 13-17. Shortly before his death, Jesus taught them what they would need to know in his absence. Some of the themes of that teaching included the sending of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ promise to return in the future, and what it means to abide in him. “...so that in me you may have peace.” The word “peace” conjures up a spirit that isn’t afraid, a mind that doesn’t ruminate on negative thoughts, a heart that isn’t distraught. The Lord has allowed humans to discover ways to calm anxious minds through various means, and I don’t discount them—I myself have benefited from therapy. However, Jesus offers his followers access to a different kind of peace. By providing for the forgiveness of our sins, He offers us peace with the Father. The peace that comes from the assurance of salvation and the promise of Heaven supersedes the peace offered by human means...

Take Heart2023-08-15T13:18:08+00:00
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