When Barack Obama faces controversy and push-back from Republicans, what is it that guides him through the tough moments of his presidency? Christ's agony and resurrection, he says. In his annual Easter speech, Obama laid out his beliefs regarding how Christ's story has personally impacted his ability to handle the challenges the presidency has brought upon him.
Obama received "Amens" from religious leaders at a White House prayer breakfast in the East Room as he recounted Jesus saying, "In this world, you will have trouble." The full verse, which can be found in John 16:33, reads, "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."
In addition to mentioning this Biblical reference, Obama says he's among those who sometimes question God's plan for him. But he says that's precisely when he recalls the "triumph" of the Easter story, and Jesus overcoming his doubts and fears before the crucifixion.
"Like us, Jesus knew doubt. Like us, Jesus knew fear," Obama continued. "It puts in perspective our small problems relative to the big problems he was dealing with. It gives us courage, it gives us hope. We all have experiences that shake our faith. There are times we question God’s plan…but that’s precisely when we should remember Jesus’ own doubts and eventually his triumph.”
This is the third year Obama has convened a pre-Easter breakfast meeting. Last year, he spoke about his reasoning behind hosting the event.
"I wanted to host this breakfast for a simple reason -- because as busy as we are, as many tasks as pile up, during this season, we are reminded that there's something about the resurrection -- something about the resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ, that puts everything else in perspective," he said. "We all live in the hustle and bustle of our work. And everybody in this room has weighty responsibilities, from leading churches and denominations, to helping to administer important government programs, to shaping our culture in various ways."
Watch video from last year's address, below:
Obama says he hoped for "a little calm before the storm" on Monday when the White House opens its gates to thousands of children for the Easter Egg Roll.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.