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.
Basic Combat Training is the official name for what U.S. Army veterans affectionately refer to as “boot camp”—ten weeks of programmed exercise, education, exertion, and examination. It is not fun nor meant to be. When new recruits begin to flag after the first week or two, they are reminded, “You can do anything for ten weeks!” In other words, the experience of suffering changes radically when there is an end point in view.
When Jesus was preparing for the most intense of His own tribulations, His arrest and crucifixion, He warned His disciples that they, too, would “have tribulation.” It would not be open-ended tribulation but tribulation with parameters. It would not last forever; as He did, they would ultimately overcome the world and its tribulations; and those boundaries on their suffering were reasons for “good cheer.” He did not define the end point, only that the end point would come.
When you wonder if the world has gotten the upper hand, remember: Christ has overcome the world. And, in Him, so have you.
The staying power of our faith is neither demonstrated nor developed until it is tested by suffering.
D. A. Carson