Jesus Said There Would Be Days Like This

“God disciplines His children—which means He teaches and trains us as a parent would to help a beloved child learn how to ride a bike.” By Kristen Powell

Jesus told us to expect terrible days. He also told us how to handle them.

On the day before His death, Jesus gave His 12 closest friends final instructions, encouragement and advice. Read the last words of His farewell message: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV). 

Cheerful, right? Not exactly a farewell blessing filled with well-wishes and hopes for a trouble-free life. You can trust Jesus to always tell the truth. He wants us to be prepared, so He said it clearly: “In this world, you will have trouble.” 

The word trouble that Jesus uses comes from a Greek word, “thlipsis.” If you have not yet experienced those hard things, you will. Jesus wants you to know how to survive the hard times that come for all of us. Read John 16:33 again. 

The first critical thing to notice is that everyone will experience trouble and suffering. Hard things occur because we live in the world which has been corrupted by sin. Have you ever questioned if God was punishing you for something you’ve done? Hard times occur for everyone, whether we “deserve” those things or not. Trouble and suffering are part of the human experience. Even Jesus experienced trouble and suffering when He became human and lived on earth.

Does God punish His children? No. God may allow us to experience some of the consequences of our choices. God disciplines His children—which means He teaches and trains us as a parent would to help a beloved child learn how to ride a bike. God’s heart for you, when you belong to Him, is to gently teach you—not to punish you. 

What should we do when we face trouble or suffering?

  1. Remember Jesus said it would be like this (John 16:4).
  2. Take heart! This phrase means, “Have courage!” We base this courage on the truth that Jesus has overcome the world. Ultimately, He will make His good and perfect ways the law of the land. Justice, peace and goodness are coming. Jesus keeps His promises and fills our hearts and minds with hope. 
  3. We “may have” peace in Jesus. Jesus draws a sharp contrast between what the world offers us (trouble and suffering) and what He offers His followers (peace). Just before Jesus spoke these words, He told His disciples to stay connected to Him (“abide in me”). This is the key to having peace in Jesus. 
  4. Look to the Holy Spirit. In this same conversation, Jesus told His disciples that when He left, He would send His Holy Spirit to be an advocate for them. The Spirit would comfort, teach and guide them into all truth (John 16:13). This same Holy Spirit stands ready to minister to you. 

Dig Deeper:

Do you believe that God can use your suffering for His good purposes? Check Joseph’s story (Genesis 37-50), Daniel’s story (Daniel 6) and Mary’s story (Luke 7:36–50). What did Jesus’s suffering on the cross produce?

John 16:33

Daily Readings

Week 1
  • June 1: John 16:16–24
Week 2
  • June 2: John 16:25–28
  • June 3: John 16:29–33
  • June 4: John 17:1–5
  • June 5: John 17:6–11
  • June 6: John 17:12–19
  • June 7: John 17:20–26
  • June 8: John 15:26, 16: 1–7
Week 3
  • June 9: John 16:8–16
  • June 10: Romans 8:5–10
  • June 11: Romans 8:14–17
  • June 12: Romans 8:18
  • June 13: Romans 8:22–27
  • June 14: 1 Thessalonians 1:6
  • June 15: Romans 8:28–30
Week 4
  • June 16: Romans 8:31–37
  • June 17: Romans 8:38–39
  • June 18: 1 John 5:2–5
  • June 19: John 4:4
  • June 20: Romans 5:1–5 
  • June 21: 2 Corinthians 1:3–7
  • June 22: 2 Corinthians 1:8–11
Week 5
  • June 23: Genesis 37
  • June 24: Genesis 39
  • June 25: Genesis 40
  • June 26: Genesis 41
  • June 27: Genesis 42
  • June 28: Genesis 43
  • June 29: Genesis 44
Week 6
  • June 30: Genesis 45:1–15, 50:20

Bible verse illustration by Ella Lama.

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