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. John 16:33 | NIV
A man stopped to watch a Little League baseball game. He asked one of the youngsters what the score was. ”We’re losing 18-0,” was the answer. “Well,” said the man. ”I must say you don’t look discouraged.” “Discouraged?” the boy said puzzled. ”Why should we be discouraged? We haven’t come to bat yet.”
In John 16, Jesus provides final instructions to his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion. Knowing that his disciples will have to make the ultimate sacrifice for their faith in him, he encourages them to take heart. The word that is used in the Greek is “tharseo,” which can be transliterated as “take courage, to be of good cheer.”
Jesus was not telling the disciples to dismiss their trouble or hardships. He wasn’t advocating that they do not mourn their losses or lament their suffering. Having faith in God does not mean we do not feel pain and sorrow. Christians hurt like everyone else. And we should be encouraged to mourn our pain. After all, Jesus wept when Lazarus died, though he had the power to raise him from the dead.
Even as we pray for God to change the circumstances around us, we should not feel guilty about the tears we may shed for those we’ve lost, or for opportunities missed, or when we endure injustice. As we pray for the victims of Coronavirus, our hearts should break for the thousands that have already died and the many that are still battling the virus.
Yet we are to take heart. That means finding the joy of the Lord amid our pain. It means grieving with hope. How do we do that? With words of encouragement for one another. Therefore, let us encourage one another and build each other up so we can make it through COVID-19 (1 Thessalonians 5:11). This is not the time for sectarianism and selfish disregard for the suffering of others. Many people are dying, and their loved ones are not even able to funeralize them properly. In some cases, we are not able to do a homegoing celebration for our brothers and sisters that are transitioning to glory due to COVID-19. But we take heart because we know we will see them again.
Take heart is a statement of defiance against the daily bombardment of news about the devastation of Coronavirus. When we say take heart, we are encouraging one another to hold on and never give up hope. It is our way of saying the Lord will make a way somehow.
To my brothers and sisters that have lost their employment, or a loved one, or unable to meet their financial obligations, or are infected with Coronavirus, or are struggling with loneliness as they stay at home alone, I say take heart. I want to encourage you to trust in the Lord with all your heart and rejoice amid the sadness that is all around us. Remember, weeping may endure for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
Take heart and wait on the Lord as you weather this pandemic. As you are waiting, reach out to others to encourage them. Waiting on God does not mean idleness. On the contrary, we should be studying the word of God, helping those that are facing hardships, ministering to one another, and maybe finally write that book you always wanted to write. God will renew the strength of those who remain in active duty to his kingdom as they wait on him.
Prayer- Blessed Lord, may your joy be made complete in the heart of those that are hurting for one reason or another.