As long as we live in this world, we are going to be faced with challenges and not one human being is immune to this. Not a single one. The form of these challenges may vary. They may be physical, emotional, mental or a combination of any or all of them. They may last for a moment or they may last for as long as we reside in these bodies of flesh. Challenges are faced by the rich, the poor, the educated, the uneducated, the wise, the not-so-wise, the beautiful, the not-so-beautiful, the popular and the not-so-popular, the young and well... the not-so-young. We will all face challenges for the plain and simple fact that we live in a fallen world, under the curse of sin.
While Jesus walked the face of the earth, He too faced "challenges". While the Bible is pretty much silent about His growing up years, we are given a glimpse of some His challenges during His years of public ministry. He experienced relationship challenges with within His family. His brothers thought He was crazy. Actually a lot of other people did as well. He was misunderstood by many and even hated by some. He knew what it was like to have friends forsake Him rather than stand with Him. Then there were the people who were what I call "users". These are the people, who do something or go somewhere because other people are doing it or they want to be considered as "cutting edge", creative, enlighted or even rebels against the status quo. They tag along because they want to get in on the action, obtain a position, command respect from others and so forth. They paid little attention to what Jesus said. They were more interested in seeing what He would do next. These were the people who stopped following Him during the latter part of His ministry. They weren't interest in a transformed life, they were merely interested in being entertained. Rejection is a challenge that none of us like.
While challenges are something that we all must face, including those of us who follow Christ, our response to those challenges does not and indeed should not be the same as those who do not follow Christ. John 16:33 tells us that in this world we will have trouble but we are to take heart because Jesus has overcome the world. He is "bigger", He is stronger than any challenge we could ever fake and in fact, we are told that through Jesus Christ we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37).
There are some who suggest that this verse means we will never have any struggles, however, the word conquer is a verb. It requires action. Some sort of confrontation must take place in order for someone to be a conqueror. One cannot be an "overcomer" unless they have someone or something to overcome.
No, we were never promised that we would never again face challenges. We were promised that through Christ we would not just be merely conquerors, we would be more than conquerors. I am reminded of this every time I see someone who is facing a difficult challenge walking around with a smile on their face, encouraging others. I am reminded of it when their situation seems to be hopeless but instead of looking at the situation, they have their eyes fixed on Jesus Christ. THIS is what it means to be more than a conqueror. It means that you remember that the problem, the challenge does not have you... God has you!
I especially liked, "the challenge does not have you...God has you!" Yes, and Amen.
John 16:33 is such a powerful verse. One we need to stand on more often!