Psalm 31: 1-5, 15-16
“Jonn 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions…”
These are meant to be words of comfort, but they are too often unheard. Why? Because those most deeply affected are usually in such shock, or pain that it’s difficult to really hear these words, or any kind of comforting words. In essence these words are saying, “Try not to be too upset. After all, we believe in God and we believe in Jesus Christ, God’s son. Everything is going to be alright, so don’t let your heart be uneasy.”
But really, what is there that would keep our hearts from being troubled? What is there that would ease the hurt and pain and sorrow we feel?
We are offered plenty of medical and non-medical products that would make us feel better. Often times in the period of an hour time, the television blasts all kinds of ads for antidepressant medication, drugs or drinks that will settle us down or make us feel less pain or help us feel happier. We are told that if we get a new name brand outfit, we will feel better about ourselves and it will elevate our spirits.
What is it that would free our hearts from being troubled? The full statement that Jesus made was, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.” What Jesus is talking about here is faith, and about trust. “Your hearts don’t need or have to be troubled because you have faith in me. I am God; you can trust me to work things out for you.”
Jesus’ words are comforting because they remind us that when we believe in God, and when we believe in Christ, we are putting our trust in the most powerful force in the world. This God, this powerful force, this unconditional love, this unfailing faithfulness, to us Jesus is saying, “You can relax because of the faith you hold in thy God, my Father, will make everything right.”
In their original context these words are said as Jesus is telling his disciples that he is going to be leaving them. He is preparing them for the pain and heartbreak attributed his death, or at least for the fact that he is not going to be with them much longer. In that context some scholars say these words may have been said as a directive. Jesus might be saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.”
“I am going to be leaving you soon, so you will need to strengthen your hope, trust and faith because very difficult days are ahead. I need you to be strong, steadfast, unloveable, able to stand firm in your faith. You will need to trust me as you have never trusted before.” It’s about faith, it’s about trust. We all have faced times when situations have forced us to trust, so we already know about this as a reality in our lives. You hold out your hand and show the ring to your girl who is gasping for air. She reaches out in acceptance and you find yourself hoping and trusting for a joyful yes!
You take your beautiful daughter to the college university of her choosing and help her unpack her things and get them to the dorm room. On your way there you noticed a couple of guys checking her out. Then her new roommates introduce themselves looking a little too scantly dresses for your comfort. Finally, when everything is done you both say your good-byes with smiles. But the ride back home you question whether you have prepared your daughter with enough maturity to handle the temptations, challenges, and hard work she will have to face. It’s another trust issue that you are now faced with.
“Let not your heart be troubled.” Can you really do this thing? Can you keep your heart from being troubled? Sometimes the things we trust in fail us; the rope isn’t strong enough; people make mistakes; things falls apart.
So what is it that would free our hearts from being troubled? Is it a God who cares so much about you and me that God comes to us as a human being? Are we comforted by the One who lived among us, who knows what life is like for us and stands beside us? This is not only the most powerful force in the world, it is the most compassionate, loving, caring force in the world as well. We know what it is like to love and care for our children, and yet that is only just a small taste of the kind of love God has for you and me. Of all of the things we put our trust in, God is the most reliable, the most loving, the most dependable.
God doesn’t promise us that nothing bad will ever happen to us. None of us as parents can guarantee that either, but God promises to be with us every step of the way. There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God. We know from life experiences that we aren’t exempt from difficulties just because we trust in God. Bad things happen to good people and we all get caught in the evil and mishaps of the world. God doesn’t promise to protect us from everything hurtful in the world by not allowing them to come near us.
When Jesus says “Don’t let your hearts be troubled,” He already knew that we are going to be terrified, anxious, worried and upset on this journey of life. He came as human baby, grew into a full adult human man, so he knows and understand what it’s like. He says those words reminding us that we don’t have to be so terrified because we also know that as we cross the troubled waters of life, we have the strong arm of God to hold onto. God won’t let us down. Our hearts aren’t so troubled because we don’t have to go it alone and because God is there to support us every step of the way.
When we face the raging rivers of life, we not only have the strong arm of God to support us, but Christ has given us each other as well. When the strong currents of agony is pounding against us, we have assurance knowing that the arm of God is tightly interlocked with our arms. We also have the arms of other Christians in Christ holding us in their grip as well. We will cross this raging river together leaning on the Lord and the supporting strength of each other as we make it to the other side. Sometimes we have to learn to accept the help of others, even if that’s not in our nature to do, and sometimes we have to ask for help, even if that’s not in our nature to do either. People don’t always know what we are going through, or what we are thinking, or how we feel. Sometimes we have to reach out and ask for help and support when the waters are getting too harsh for one to wade in alone.