It’s so easy to get discouraged. Most of us have hopes, dreams, and plans that motivate us to get up and go to school or work and do all the things we HAVE to do in order to experience the things we WANT to experience in life. It just seems that so often, our plans don’t work out like we want them to, and life takes us in unexpected directions. Every now and then, that can actually be fun and exciting. Sometimes, however, it’s horrific and traumatic. Like…
when we lose someone we love
when we find out we have an incurable disease
when we lose a job
when our spouse is having an affair
when our kids our doing drugs
when our parents fight all the time
when we find out that Jesus is a Lord who exceeds our definitions… and this means he doesn’t always do what we want or expect
On Passover night, the night before Jesus would be crucified, the Twelve (Apostles) were shocked and dismayed by much of what Jesus told them as they reclined around the table together. One of the most distressing things Jesus said was that he was about to leave and they could not go with him (John 13:33). On top of everything else that was happening that night, this was incredibly bad news for the Twelve–or so they thought at the time. Jesus was “greatly distress and troubled” (Mark 14:32-34), because he knew what was coming that night. The Apostles were troubled because they didn’t have a clue about what was happening that night.
In the midst of all that trouble, Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1-3).
I wonder how those words sounded as they saw Jesus arrested and then crucified the next morning? “Let not your hearts be troubled….”
I wonder how those words sound to us when life gets all out of sorts and we find nothing but trouble around us?
First, don’t feel guilty by misunderstanding Jesus’ words as another command you’ve failed to obey. Jesus isn’t trying to weigh anyone down with these words; he’s trying to lift us up. He’s encouraging us to hang on and let our faith take over. He saying to ride out the hard times because evil and trouble will never have the final word.
We’ll talk about this more on Sunday at the East Point Church of Christ in Wichita, Kansas. If you can’t join us for worship but you want to hear more about this, you will be able to find an audio version of Sunday’s sermon at http://eastpointchurchofchrist.org. Of course, you can also email me if you want to chat. (firstname.lastname@example.org)