A Sure Cure For Troubled Hearts
14 “Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe [confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and I will take you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.
Jesus had just delivered news to His disciples that rocked their world. Earlier, He had described a series of calamities that the world would experience in the last days. His men probably thought, “That sounds terrible but at least Jesus will go through it with us.” But now Jesus tells them, “I’m leaving. First I’ll be killed, and then I’ll be leaving you.”(John 12:23-24; 13:33) The looks on their faces probably told Jesus that He should give them some desperately need perspective.
Our faith in God, He explained, gives us ultimate security. Though we may experience all kinds of difficulties and heartaches, we can count on God’s love and on our place in eternity. With that assurance, our hearts aren’t nearly as troubled.
To give His disciples confidence, Jesus explained that each of them would have a permanent home in heaven. During the three years they had followed Him, the disciples never had a place they could call home. Though Jesus was going away, His promise of a home must have meant a lot to them. Jesus also promised that He would be with them again, both in Heaven and when He would return to earth to rule during the Millennium.
When disturbing news troubles us, we can count on God’s promises. In this case, Jesus promised the ultimate security of a home in heaven and the ultimate thrill of being with Him forever. That’s a sure cure for troubled hearts.
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.
Carrie Ten Boom
There can be found some sense of peace when one can see an end in sight. Perhaps in a financial difficulty it can come when there’s news that a raise in pay is coming or the last payment is in sight. Perhaps in the recovery of an injury it can come as the last therapy session is scheduled. Perhaps it can come when the wayward child phones to say they’re coming home. I’m sure there would be a more sense of peace and security if we were to get the news that the pandemic was totally under control and we could return to “normal” living.
But what about those times when there is no end in sight; no news of change for the better? What happens in the financial struggle when instead of a raise we get the news of cutbacks? What happens when the doctor says there’s nothing else that we can do? What happens when we get the news that the child is drawing farther away into destructive behavior? Or what will we do if there is never a end of the pandemic and we never get to return to the “norm?”
This is the essence of the atmosphere in the room as Jesus has made known to the disciples that everything was getting ready to change and there would be no return to what had been. For three years they had been with Him. Their expectations were that He would set the world aright. Certainly they never expected His words. The idea of Him dying and leaving them must have come in such a shock that they were speechless. In a few chapters earlier we read that they were making plans to be in His kingdom. They were trying to figure out where they would sit and how they would rule. Now they were given the news that Christ was leaving them.
What Christ tells them and us is that our faith and hope stand not in circumstances but in God Himself for God alone never changes. Our world, our environment is subject to change at any moment, but the constant, the foundation of our faith is the Christ who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The first words that Jesus speaks is powerful: “Let not your hearts be troubled!” Now He could have just left that as a command and that ought to be sufficient for the disciples and us. In His great compassion and love He continues with the reason we don’t have to remain troubled: “Believe in God and also believe in Me!” That’s the root of faith. Faith is not believing in what God will do but in God Himself. So what if God doesn’t give us the answer we want, we trust Him anyway. So what if it doesn’t turn out like we wish, we hold to Him and His promises. Far too often we allow ourselves to descend into the pit of despair and doubt because God doesn’t move in our time and in our way. Like Mary and Martha we often say, “Lord, if You had just been here in time,” never realizing that He is already with us even in the crisis. That would have been enough for us to be told to place our trust in God.
But Jesus left them and us with a new perspective by telling us that there is a future of great blessing and that is our ultimate hope. Jesus recognizes that just as He will suffer, the disciples will suffer also. They, too, will be beaten, jailed, and killed for their faith and testimony. If this life was all, as Paul would say, “If in this life only we have hope, we are truly most miserable.” But thanks be to God, there is life after death and that life is ultimately with Christ in Heaven with God who has prepared a place for us.
None of us want to go through times of heartache or suffering, but none of us are exempt from such things. There are those who experience a lifetime of difficulty without seeming to get a break. Others of us are fortunate to have times of peace and joy between struggles. Some of us get the answer to prayers we want and others find themselves having to trust in God’s decisions. All of us can find comfort and hope in the knowledge that our faith rests in Jesus and His love. Our hope is in all that we will be given in the world to come even if we struggle here.
Let those words of Jesus ring in your heart today, especially if you’re going through a difficult time, “Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God and believe in Me.”
Dr. John Thompson