Matters of Faith: BE OF GOOD CHEER!

By Rev. J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv.

John 16:33

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (KJV)

Turbulence is what Webster’s describes as “irregular atmospheric motion especially when characterized by up-and-down currents.” Certain conditions, situations and circumstances create specific atmospheric conditions that cause sudden and violent movements of air. Turbulence is both an atmospheric phenominon and a human condition. Life’s turbulence is often called trials and tribulations.

During a recent trip, my wife and I encountered turbulence that started before the plane ever left the runway. Upon arrival at the airport, we encountered a seven-year construction project that snarled traffic by narrowing roadways, creating detours, then diverting traffic around spontaneous construction zones. Because we weren’t able to secure seats prior to arrival at the airport (don’t ask!), we got seats fifteen rows apart. Before the plane cleared the runway, we could feel turbulence from the wind that was pushing the plane from side-to-side. Once airborne, we were caught in turbulace for twenty solid minutes.

When Jesus spoke the words from the text, he was preparing His disciples for turbulence. Just on the horizon was turbulence unlike anything they could imagine. So the chapter begins by saying that He does not want them to be offended, which is translated, to stumble or cause anyone else to stumble. There was turbulence on the horizon and they needed to be prepared.

The first wave of turbulence they were going to experience was the Jewish leaders who were about to throw them out of the synagogue and begin to persecute them. But greater turbulence than that was brewing, turbulence that would challenge everything they had come to know and to believe. Jesus tells them that He is going to leave them!

When turbulence is looming and you know it, it’s a good idea to make preparations. Jesus tells them of pending turbulence, then prepares them with words of encouragement. Even though they did not understand, nor could they appreciate His leaving, He was preparing them to find peace in turbulent times. Not just that, the Holy Spirit would only come if there was turbulence. In the last verse of this chapter, Jesus sums it all up in one sentence; “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Did you get that? In the worst turbulence, “be of good cheer!”

Anticipating traffic at the airport, we left early. Discovering that our seats were fifteen rows apart, we predetermined where we would meet once we got off the plane. Having prior knowledge of turbulence after take off, the flight crew gave us advance notice so that we wouldn’t panic. Turbulence is inevitable. “but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Turbulence can be expected, air pockets can pull you way down, you may be tossed to and frow, but in the midst of your most tumultuous period, be of good cheer, He has overcome the world!

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen here or by phone at 626-226-1448. Be sure to friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook, Twitter @jlorenr, and email us at

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