I have been thinking about this verse a lot lately. In this world you will have trouble. I think most of my life when I've read this verse, I always thought of really big challenges in life. Illness, maybe something tragic happening, big stuff... Lately however, I've started thinking what if it's not just that at all? What if trouble is also all the little things that drive us up the walls daily?
Have you ever found yourself trying to find a job or a soul mate or just trying to figure out what to do with your life and wondering why (at least some days) everything seems to be so difficult? Like why can't you have a day, a week, a month or a year that just runs smoothly? Or maybe you have had periods of time where it just felt like all the stars aligned and you're just trying to figure out how to get that back; and for the life of you, you can't figure out what you were doing differently at that time. You only know you can't seem to duplicate it now.
But what if it's all these little things - repeatedly dealing with rejection in one form or another, struggling financially, always feeling like you're trying to get ahead - that are the "trouble" Jesus was speaking about in that verse? That means all those irritants are always going to be around. You may be thinking "Well that just sucks. Where's the upside in that?" And you'd be right it does suck. But what He says next it what gives me hope - But take heart! I have overcome the world.
If you believe what The Old Testament says, then you believe mankind blew their chance at Heaven on earth when Adam and Eve were in the Garden. If you look at it from that angle, we had a world without trouble and we gave it up. So yes, trouble is an inevitable part of daily life. But what Christ overcoming the world means is that our troubled state of living will not last forever - it is only temporary.
The way I am trying to look at that these days is all the stuff that drives me nuts (see the aforementioned attempts to get a career off the ground and find a soul mate) are always going to drive me a little nuts in one form or another. All of the things I place so much importance on - particularly job stuff - aren't really going to matter in the long run. The relationships we form with people, the way we treat each other, how we help one another, how we love each other the was Jesus loved us...those are the things that will echo through eternity. So maybe that's where I should strive to shift my focus more instead of zeroing in on all the little things that make me feel like I'm losing it.
Just a thought.