“Where have you been all my life?” is how I remember responding as a teenage boy to these words from Jesus. Is it really possible, I thought, that there is a Creator who loves me, and He wants to come alongside me to point me to peace in the midst of what feels like chaos? There was hope, and relief! Having only recently heard the good news of Jesus Christ and responded with new faith, I knew nothing more than to cling to the singular, final verse of John 16.
As a teenager, I clung to a promise in a single verse of scripture.
These words of Jesus take place at the end of what is called the “farewell discourse” - from John 13:31 to 16:33 - that He has with His disciples, after Judas departs from them in the upper room. This segment of scripture is rich with personalities, and now I read it with a better understanding of the depth of emotion that Jesus must have been feeling at the time. He was hours away from persecution and death, and behind His words of “take heart” were to come the Holy Spirit, glimpses of God’s kingdom on earth, and continents of people transformed!
But the Spirit of God comes alongside us right where we are, in mercy and gentleness. In my adolescent cluelessness, He said, “take heart.” For me, then, the presence of the Lord became real, giving me courage to go forward, and peace “that surpasses all understanding.”
First, as we go to the Lord together in prayer, silently take time to remember how He first came alongside you. Give our Lord praise for His mercy and grace, and for what He has endured so that we may be with Him.
Next, voice your one sentence prayers of praise to God for how He has given you relief -- from pain, or grief, or addiction, or anything else that may have been hindering you from walking with Him.
Finally, openly pray for the people of Friends Church, that we may individually and corporately share the good news of God, who is still overcoming sin and darkness with light and peace.
Friends Church Chief of Staff