(John 16:33) 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.
Jesus said these words to his disciples as he was getting ready to finish his work and return to the Father. He knew that they were going to face considerable adversity as they carried the Good News to the world. His encouragement to them was first that they would have peace in him, and secondly that they would “take heart” because he has overcome the world.
Take heart is a familiar statement, and most modern translations use the words take heart for this verse. I wanted to better understand what Jesus was saying, so I did a little digging. Here’s a definition that I thought explains the term well: to gain courage or confidence: to begin to feel better and more hopeful. God put in us great inner strength, but he never meant for us to face adversity alone. We can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world.
I stumbled on this scripture from Proverbs when I was going through chemotherapy. (Proverbs 24:10) If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength? It caused me to take heart, to rise up and continue to face my adversity. So I gained courage and confidence, and I began to feel better and more hopeful. I was strengthened in myself, but I was not strengthened by my own ability. Through my relationship with God and the guidance of his word, I was encouraged in him. I was able to rise up and face my adversity, because Jesus was at my side through it all.