“I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” (John 16:32-33)
Jesus says these words in response to the disciples’ assertion that they believed in Him because they knew He was from God. These are words of reassurance because Jesus understood that, despite their faith, the disciples would undergo problems in a world often fraught with trouble.
As the school year winds down, it can be a troubling time for the students’ in my care. Though this is not true in every case, some face unstable family lives in the months ahead, and a few of them have no real place to call home. Because of this, we begin to see a noticeable upswing in anxieties and acting out at school and in the residences.
One little guy, who owns a smile that can melt a glacier, is especially troubled these days. He simply comes undone at the drop of a hat, and that leads to sobbing, kicking, spitting, shoe throwing and more. A meeting was called to determine the best way to respond, and, upon reviewing recent incidents with him, someone noticed that when he had been held tightly to keep him from hurting others, he had asked to not be let go. He wanted to be held, to be hugged.
The next day, a small matter again led to one of his pint-sized but powerful tirades. The person managing his behavior calmly asked, “Do you want a hug?”
“No” he shouted. “No!”And then he ran to her and wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly for a long while.
We all need words and acts of reassurance in our sometimes troubling world. Let’s be sure to offer them where we can, as ask for them when we need them.