Reflecting on his Christian faith, President Obama said this morning that the story of Easter puts the challenges he faces into perspective and inspires him to overcome troubled times.
"We all have experiences that shake our faith. There are times where we have questions for God's plan relative to us but that's precisely when we should remember Christ's own doubts and eventually his own triumph," the president said at an Easter prayer breakfast at the White House.
Obama went on to read from the book of John, quoting Jesus saying, "In this world, you will have trouble." The line received an "Amen" from the audience of Christian leaders, inciting laughter from the president.
"I heard an amen," he said chuckling. "Let me repeat. 'In this world, you will have trouble.'"
"Amen" the audience repeated.
"'But take heart!'" the president said through laughter as he continued to quote the scripture. ""I have overcome the world.' We are here today to celebrate that glorious overcoming, the sacrifice of a risen savior who died so that we might live. And I hope that our time together this morning will strengthen us individually, as believers, and as a nation."
The president suggested that Christ overcame fears that make today's challenges seem small by comparison.
"The struggle to fathom that unfathomable sacrifice makes Easter all the more meaningful to all of us. It helps us to provide an eternal perspective to whatever temporal challenges we face. It puts in perspective our small problems relative to the big problems He was dealing with. And it gives us courage and it gives us hope," he said.
The president opened the annual breakfast joking that the event marked "the calm before the storm" of next Monday's Easter Egg Roll. "In less than a week, this house will be overrun by thousands of kids," he quipped. "So I wanted to get together with you for a little prayer and reflection."