Tribulation vs. Peace and Good Cheer

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

This truth was included in the middle of Jesus’ farewell discourse to His disciples. Last words are important and to be valued. He spoke of tribulation. The Greek word for tribulation, ”thlipsis” meant to  crush, press together, squash, hem in, compress, or squeeze. It expressed sheer, physical pressure on a person. It is a strong term which does not refer to minor inconveniences, but to real hardships.

Hopefully no one reading this will ever experience such extremity. However, our difficulties are a prep school conditioning us in the event we ever might. How are you doing in this school?

If even under tribulation Jesus’ followers are to experience good cheer, how much more should we in our difficulties?

Before and after this pinnacle truth is noted how we might have peace and good cheer.

First, a biblical example of this truth in action. The apostles were called before a religious tribunal and told in polite terms to “shut up” talking about Jesus. When they did not, they were beaten brutally with rods. “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” (Acts 5: 41)

Historically it is said a number of gladiators were led to have faith in Jesus when they saw how His followers were willing to die for Him. That was tribulation.               

We are to be of good cheer. Cheer meant more than having a jolly good time, it meant to have courage, to be encouraged, be heartened. How?

For faithful believers two things enable this. The disciples experienced both. Both are no less relevant for us.

The first thing enabling cheer is the words he spoke. They heard Him articulate them. We have them in written form. To have them and not know them is a travesty. To know them and not practice them is worse. To know them and apply them is to have peace and be of good cheer.

One further reflection comparing true tribulation with “our light affliction” and our responses, how are you doing in our current elementary school? 

An illustrative comparison of confronting tribulation and our difficulties is found in Jeremiah 12:5. Therein God says to the prophet, “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in a safe country, how will you manage in the thickets….” 

Practice now by showing presently you have peace and good cheer.