“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
I marvel at the words of Jesus in the Book of John. These were words Jesus spoke directly to his disciples on the day before his crucifixion. Jesus used figures of speech to inform his disciples of his departure from earth by explaining to them it would be for the better. Confusion appeared to be the leading response by his disciples, but Jesus increasingly reminded his followers to not be frightened by his approaching departure.
As I read this chapter, I try to place myself in the position of the disciples and determine how I would have responded with the words Jesus spoke. Laser-focused on his words, I am reminded that Jesus desires us to focus on the hope to come and look beyond the now.
Perspective can be defined with words like understanding, awareness, in regard to, as well as a sensible outlook on life. When moments of difficulty emerge in our lives, we must keep perspective for the greater hope that Jesus declares. I know this may appear as an easy or religious answer, but the only way to press on is to fix our eyes on the end goal.
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
Most recently, my attention has been drawn to a murder trial where a perspective of hope was the foundation. In September 2018, Botham Jean, a resident of Dallas, Texas, was fatally shot in his own apartment. Amber Guyger, returned from a long shift as a police officer, when she accidentally walked into the wrong apartment, thinking it was her own. There she became frightened as she found Botham Jean, sitting on his couch as she mistakenly thought it was her place of residence. Amber Guyger reacted and fatally shot Botham Jean.
As my heart aches for both families and friends who are close to them, my heart can’t seem to forget the words Botham Jean’s 18-year-old brother, Brandt Jean, proclaimed from the stand during the trial earlier this month. In short, the victim’s brother kept a heavenly perspective as he used words like “I forgive you. I wish nothing bad for you. I love you like anyone else, and I want the best for you because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want and the best would be, to give your life to Christ.” These words were followed by the victim’s brother embracing the police officer in a silent court room.
We must remember to look through an eternal lens. I say this not to desensitize what you are encountering or provide you with a religious answer, but simply as an encouragement. Difficulty and pain will exist; however, in light of the promises to come, we can find forgiveness, rest and peace knowing heaven puts everything into perspective.