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
Daunte Demetrius Wright, age 20. Another Black man killed, this time in Brooklyn Center. That’s my hometown. I grew up on those streets, used to be friends with the kids who lived in the house where the fist sculpture is now. I used to babysit the kids in the house down the street. I used to play at the parks nearby. I remember having the privilege and freedom of being able to ride my bike all around Brooklyn Center, without any fear. That is not the case for others. Now there is just trouble, trouble, more trouble. What a tragedy.
Maybe, like me, you’re just sick about this trouble. You don’t know what to do, so you pray and wonder and worry and fret. Your sleep is disturbed and you’re not hungry. You hear sirens and pray that there isn’t more bad trouble. You reach out to friends and loved ones affected by this traumatic event. It’s hard to take heart and be at peace when there is so much trouble all around.
In the midst of all of this bad trouble, we might want to sing the old spiritual “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…” except Jesus does know all about the trouble we’ve seen. He knows about all the trouble we see on a daily basis. He experienced plenty of trouble himself. After all, he just finished talking with the disciples about what to do when the world hates you; something he knows about firsthand. He also told them that they would have pain when they could no longer see him, but assures them that they will see him again.
The late Georgia Representative John Lewis knew about trouble as well. He devoted his life to racial justice and equality and tweeted this in June of 2018: “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/07/18/rep-john-lewis-most-memorable-quotes-get-good-trouble/5464148002/)
Getting into good trouble is about bringing transformational change. Getting into good trouble is not sitting in despair, thinking we can’t do anything about the troubles in this world, but taking constructive action, doing what we can to make the world a better place. Getting into good trouble is about being hopeful for better days ahead, optimistic that someday things will change.
Oh, yes, Jesus knew all about trouble. If he had a social media account, this is what he might post today: “When the world’s troubles seem like more than you can bear, rely on my peace. Let it restore your soul, calm your spirit and quiet your mind. You will have trouble, much more than you want, in this world. But be hopeful, be optimistic because I have overcome the world! I have overcome sin, death and the devil, all the things that cause bad trouble in this world. So, take heart, be of good cheer! I’m here in the trouble with you!”
May it be so.
Let us pray: Holy God, loving Jesus, Holy Spirit, there is trouble all around. So much trouble. We often don’t know what to do so we come to you on our knees in prayer. Intercede for us when we don’t know how to pray. Fill us with your peace. Calm our anxious hearts and minds. Help us to be optimistic and hopeful. Don’t let us sink into despair. Unite us together for good trouble that will bring about healing change, love, hope and peace for the sake of the world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Chaplain Rev. Nancy Carlson
VP Spiritual Life