Friday, January 6, 2012

The Untroubled Heart

Let not your hearts be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. John 14:1

Last minute instructions. Goodbye endearments. Farewell speeches. Final words before death. We place a lot of value on what someone says in their last moments with us. The pressure of parting brings important things to the surface while the extraneous is stripped away and the few things we really want others to remember take center stage. Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised that John spent almost one forth of his gospel [1] describing the last six hours Jesus spent with those he loved before crucifixion tore them apart.

From sundown until just after midnight, Jesus shared His last meal with the disciples and took a walk with them through a garden. He must have had much on His mind, but two themes that keep recurring in John’s record are assurance that He loved them and encouragement to trust God’s wisdom no matter how hopeless the situation might look from earth’s view.

From now through Easter, this blog will highlight scattered fragments of what Jesus said that night. I trust that by doing so, we can tune in on a little of the same encouragement He shared with them and our hope will grow one step stronger.

We start with today’s verse. Jesus looked at the confused, weary friends gathering around Him and said, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” He even repeated the words twice so He must have been especially intent on them getting the point. [2] They must never “let” their heart be troubled.

Have you ever wonder how we could possibly choose whether or not to be troubled? I always felt trouble came to find me and my choice had little to do with it. Yet, Jesus said we should not “let” our heart go that direction.

Part of the mystery resolves when we understand what Jesus meant by “troubled.” The word He used is not what we think of as concerned or even worried but to struggle with unsure connections; to be agitated, shifting, or rootless. We “let” ourselves be “troubled” when we have a choice of clinging to our trust in God’s character and power or letting our hand slip away as we grab for things of earth searching for security.

For example, we “let” our heart be troubled when financial pressures mount and we either ignore His instruction of good stewardship or thrash about for earthly solutions ignoring the fact that He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. We “let” our heart when we mentally strip God of any resource for “practical” help with daily issues. We can’t choose whether storms will come. We can’t choose which emotions we will or won’t feel. But we can choose our hope.

As we face a new year, listen to the news, grow a year older, watch the economy, or rehears the many ways things can grow wrong in life, don’t forget: You can “let” not your heart be troubled if you will choose to keep your eyes on Him.

[1] John 13:1-18:1 approximately 6 pm to midnight. [2] John 14:1; 14:27

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