These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.(John 16:33, KJV)
I stood by my friend’s bedside, singing Victory in Jesus with his family. His body, ravaged by cancer, was fading fast. We knew the end was near. To some, he was losing his battle with cancer, but my friend was not tasting defeat, but victory. As we sang, prayed, and wept, he was hearing the grandstand of heaven cheering for him to crossover. He was leaving this life in victory.
How can I say this? By faith. The Bible states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Some confuse faith with positive thinking. Although positive thinking is good, it only takes you so far. A preacher once said positive thinking is having faith in faith. Yet the Bible calls us to have faith in God (see Mark 11:22). The object of our faith is God and only He can comfort us in times of tribulation.
As a pastor, I’ve walked people over joyous mountaintops and through dark valleys of despair. The latter is never easy. No one, even a believer, is exempt from the suffering of this world. In fact, Jesus assured us we would face persecution, pain, and even loss. However, God promises victory to believers. Christians can experience peace and joy during trials because Jesus has overcome the world.
Our faith in Jesus’ triumph over this world (i.e., His death, burial, and resurrection) secures our victory. We have victory in Jesus! We shouldn’t base our salvation on our moralistic or religious achievements in this life. It’s not about what we do, because we will always fall short of God’s glory (see Romans 3:23). But it is about placing our faith in what Christ accomplished. He lived, died, and rose victoriously in our place. He was our substitute. Christ provided the victory for any circumstance we face. Paul writes, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37, KJV emphasis mine). By faith in Christ, we can rest in being victorious.
What the world views as tragedy and loss may be our gain by faith. God never promises the Christian a rosy experience in this life, but He does promise to never leave nor forsake them (see Hebrews 13:5). His presence provides the peace, joy, and victory. You will face hard times, but you have the choice to face them with or without Him. Are you experiencing the victory in Jesus that God promised believers? Remember, it’s only found in Him.