John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”
We all suffer from troubled hearts and minds at times. We worry about our families and friends; we are sometimes anxious about our health or work; we are even concerned about our churches, communities, as well as the world that we live in. It just seems to be that we are all subject to trouble and suffer from worry, no matter who we are, what we’ve become, or whatever we’ve accomplished. As it once stated on an old t-shirt: ‘A person who has no worries, probably doesn’t understand the problem.’
Looking back at the Gospels, you would think that the disciples who were with Jesus would have no problems; after all, if the Son of God is on your team, then you’re going to be successful and worry-free, right? Wrong! Jesus had to constantly tell His followers not to let their hearts be troubled. He knew that they were just human beings like us; He understood their fears and anxieties, their troubles and worries. They had given up everything to be with Him and yet, the closer that they approached Jerusalem, the more issues, troubles, and problems arose among them.
This reminds me that faith communities, even with Jesus, are often subject to division and disunity, as well as fears and issues. There are no trouble-free guarantees concerning God’s work. The path will not always be smooth, nor will the skies always be blue. If anything, the whole of the New Testament expresses to us this commonality: our hearts will be troubled and our lives disrupted just because we do actually follow Jesus.
Christ’s presence among His disciples, before and after His Resurrection, was meant to pacify their souls and calm their minds. He could do it for them, if they let Him. The same is true for us today. Praying to Christ is our antidote to worrying about life. The more we pray, the less we worry; however, the more we worry, the less we pray. Placing Jesus at the center of our concerns is the first practical step toward solving our problems and experiencing His peace.
Questions for further discussion
What problems are currently worrying me? Am I praying enough to put Christ at the center of them?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we like to be independent and strong, effective and free to make our own choices, live our own lives, and deal with our own problems. Sometimes, Lord, worry diminishes our self-confidence and fear drains our strength. We forget to pray because we are afraid; we let go of Your words because we languish in our problems. Turn us to Your teaching and calm us with Your love. Strengthen us with Your wisdom and pacify us with Your presence. In Your Holy Name, we earnestly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is currently the pastor of Erin Presbyterian in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment or ask questions about today’s message, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com.