Good News! Plus I am back

We live in challenging times. Changes in government and blatant depravity foster great concern. Uncertainty about the economy, loss of respect for authority and other people is troublesome. Many of us face family concerns that threaten to crush us. Personal health issues of friends, family, and ourselves conspire to overwhelm us. Each of us faces many troubles.

One of the most famous chapters in the Bible is John 14 which preserves one of the extended and most well-known teachings of Jesus, but also instructs us how to confront our troubles. Let’s just think about the first verse. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. Trouble is something that Jesus knows about. He uses a term that in New Testament that usually describes the inner turmoil and anxiety familiar to each of us. It depicts the gut-wrenching anxiety and agony we experience in uncertain and threatening circumstances. No doubt, you are familiar with the feeling.

Jesus is addressing the deep fears of his disciples, who feel overwhelmed by the recent announcement that he was to leave them alone. Notice his advice – really a command that seems almost impossible to obey. He says, “let not your hearts be troubled…” Really? Just stop being troubled? How is that possible?

Before we move on to this instruction, notice what the command implies. You can control your emotions! Jesus tells us to stop doing something that we are already doing. In other words, he knows that our emotions seem out of control, but gives us a command: Stop It! Jesus knows that being troubled is being shaken and agitated. Your insides are churning. He has faced similar feelings. There is bewilderment and confusion – inner turmoil. Your stomach is in knots. You are to the point of panic. And yet, Jesus says, in effect: stop letting your emotions control you! He already knows how you will respond and so he tells you how. How do you control your emotions?

First, he says, “believe in God…” His followers know that the Old Testament is replete with passages that speak of the trustworthiness and faithfulness of God. They and now we believe and trust in the God who has been true to all of his many promises. And so, we trust in the Lord with all our heart. Do not lean on our own understanding. We acknowledge him in all our ways, knowing that he will make our paths straight.

Finally, he says, “… Believe also in me.” Jesus commands us to believe in him who is the one who will go on, in this chapter, to give us many wonderful promises and encouragements; on the next day, he will give his life as a ransom for his people. As he said previously, he will lay down his life for his sheep. Jesus calls on us to trust in him who died for us so that we will have everlasting life in him.

Defeat your troubles through trust in God, your Savior – the Lord Jesus Christ!

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