John 16:33 tells us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” Think about that first sentence for a second. He does not say we might have trouble. He does not tell us we have a 50/50 shot. He does not say, “if you do everything I command, you will be spared.” No, Jesus tells us we WILL have trouble in this world. But, before you let that beat you up and tear you down, keep on reading. Jesus makes another positive promise. He reminds us He has already overcome this world. Through Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection, He has faced death and come out victorious. Because of this, if our faith is in Him, we have nothing to fear. That does not mean we will not face tremendous trials and pain in our own lives. It simply reminds us that those pains are temporary, and we will be restored one day in Heaven.
This scripture came to me as I was rocking my sleeping baby boy (well, 2 ½ years old is still a baby, right?!?) and praying for protection for my husband in Afghanistan. He had called a few hours before to tell me that he would be unable to call on our 12 year wedding anniversary. Why, you might ask. Because, on that particular day, he would be leaving for a mission to a very dangerous outlying camp, and he would be getting there via a ground convoy instead of a helicopter this time. He had been briefed by a superior officer who had recently returned from this camp, and, while he couldn’t give me any details, he mentioned the conversation prompted him to bring both his rifle and his pistol, as well as all the ammunition he could carry for each.
So, with this thought in mind, my first instinct was to be afraid and cry and worry about his safety. My mind is quite imaginative, and, in 10 seconds flat, I had already envisioned answering the door to the Casualty Assistance Officer, seen the funeral, and watched myself as I raised my children to the best of my ability without their daddy. Whoa! Yeah, I simply had to get a grip. As I prayed with more fervor than I had prayed in a long time, I was reminded that I serve a big God, and he is bigger than this war. He is bigger than IED’s and the enemy’s hatred of America and all she stands for. My God is bigger than my fear, and all I have to do is ask, and he will calm them. So, I did. And, while I cannot say that I have been enveloped with the same peace that surrounded me the day I hugged my husband one last time and watched him get on a bus and head off to war, I have been given a different kind of peace.
The first scripture that came to mind after my passionate prayer for my husband’s safety and well-being freaked me out a little. For reasons I do not yet understand, this scripture from Psalm 139:16 kept invading my thoughts. It says, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” God knows the number of (very short J) hairs on my husband’s high-and- tight-hair-styled-head. He knows the number of days ordained to him. So, my peace comes from knowing that God knows the number of days my husband will serve on this earth, and war will not change that. An enemy attack cannot change that. And, somehow, I am comforted by this. Not in the “I have a peace that he will not be harmed,” sense, but in the “God will be with all of us, come what may” sense. And, I know God will be there for both of us every step of the way.