READ : John 16:25-33
“In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (v. 33 RSV)
Tribulation—there’s a word you don’t hear much nowadays. The word comes from the Latin tribulare, “to press.” Tribulation is pressure. In the Middle Ages there was a form of capital punishment called Tribulation. Heavy stones were stacked, one after another, on the victim, until finally the pressure was too much to bear and the poor soul was crushed.
Sometimes it does seem that life keeps stacking heavy weights on us—financial struggles, health issues, family strife, personal sorrows. The pressure can feel relentless, overwhelming. Midway through a counseling session with a troubled parishioner, the man held his head in his hands and sobbed. “Sometimes I feel like I have a ton of bricks on my shoulders,” he whispered. “In the world you have tribulation,” said Jesus.
The promise of the gospel is not that there will be no tribulation. The promise is that despite tribulation, Christ has overcome the world. Faith does not help us avoid tribulation. Faith is what gets us through tribulation. Faith is what helps us endure the unendurable and bear the unbearable.
Be of good cheer. Jesus has overcome the world. And his victory is your victory. That fact may not change your present situation; but it can change you.
Lord, help me to bear life’s pressures.