Have you ever really looked closely at this verse? If you’re like me, you think you have but I discovered this morning a key work I had overlooked all these years. The word is “He.”
This verse was made into a song I grew up singing and, I may be totally “misremembering” but in my head, it was always sung as “We will rest in his love” but that’s not what it says. It says “He” will rest in his love. That spoke to me this morning so loudly. He will rest in his love. Read that again, He will rest in his love. He will rest, why? Because he understands his love. He understands the power of that love and he knows that nothing can ever separate us from him because of that love.
The word tells us that God is love. So, in essence, this verse is saying that God will rest in himself. He knows that he is in control, that he’s got you right where he wants you, and that he is mighty enough and loving enough, to save you when that perfect time for saving comes.
We all go through rough times, times of battle, times of pressure, of attack, of trying and testing of our faith. The word tells us in 1 Peter 4:12 to not think it’s weird or odd when fiery trials hit us from every direction. Peter doesn’t mince words here. He doesn’t say “if,” he says “when.” In John 16:33 Jesus himself tells us that we will have trouble in life but he has provided a way for us to have peace in the midst of trouble. We are encouraged to “take heart” because he has overcome the world!
I am arrested by the phrase “take heart.” What does it actually mean? When I go to the original language, I find out so much about John 16:33 that I never quite realized before. First, the phrase “take heart.” It means to take courage, (did you notice the word “take” there, even in the definition? That denotes action. Courage is something we are told to TAKE!) and to feel confident. Jesus says he has overcome the world. Overcome means to conquer, to be victorious, to prevail. Now look at the phrase “the world.” Have you ever considered what that actually means? In this verse it has, what I thought, was an interesting meaning. It is speaking of the ordered entirety of God’s creation but is considered as separated from God. What am I trying to say by all my ramblings about original language and the meaning of individual words in this verse? Just hang with me and read a little bit further!
In John 16:33, Jesus is telling us that we are going to have trouble while we are on this side of heaven. We are going to know trials and tribulations, sorrow and heartache, loss and betrayal, and pain, but he has an answer for all of it. He has overcome the world, but remember, in this verse, the world is speaking of his creation separated from God. He has overcome our separation from God!! Read that again and let it soak in a bit more. Jesus has prevailed over what separates us from our Father! That is why we can be of good cheer, feel confident, and take courage.
He is our answer, he is our refuge, and he is all mighty, all-powerful, and all-loving. Of course, he knows all this about himself and THAT is why he can rejoice over us with singing and THAT is why he can rest in his love.
So when trouble abounds and things seem to come at me from every side in every aspect of life, my goal will be to remind myself that the God of the universe rests in his love and rejoices over me with singing. If God is at ease and I have given my life to him, then why would I not be at ease as well? So my goal during this difficult time in my life will be to remind myself that God is not worried about anything. He is all-powerful and he is all loving and he is in control. My heart, and my life, are safe in his hands.
So I encourage you, my dear reader when you find yourself awash in troubles and trials and it feels like you will be snuffed out like a candle in a hurricane, to take heart! Nothing separates you from the one who is deeply and eternally in love with you and he just happens to also be the one in complete control!
With you always in His grip,