From the Desk of Pastor Clay
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1, NRSV)
One of the devotions I have been using for myself and with our Leadership Team is Bob Goff’s Live in Grace, Walk in Love. It’s a daily devotional with a short reading for everyday of the year and ends with a thought-provoking question. A few days ago, the devotion centered Jesus’ words to the disciples in John 14 about not letting our hearts be troubled. And I have to admit to you, I usually only think about this passage and incident around funerals as this my preferred Gospel text when I preside over a funeral. This is the famous text where Jesus tells his disciples that he is going away, but he goes to prepare a place for them. It is one thing to say, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” to a family that is going through some of the hardest days of their lives. It’s another thing to read that verse and think about that verse in a random newsletter article in May. But I think we need the reminder now no matter where we find ourselves in life. It is Jesus who said, “Do not let your heart be troubled. Believe in God and in me. Remember that even as I, Jesus, go away in the ascension, I will not leave you orphaned (John 14:18) because God will send the Holy Spirit to call to our minds all that I taught (John 14:26).” Jesus gives this reminder, and it is not just for funerals.
All kinds of things can cause us to let our hearts be troubled. Things in our lives, things about us make us feel unworthy of God’s love or things we are facing distract us from God’s presence. Bob Goff writes, “When God looks at our lives, it’s like He’s sitting in the director’s chair. He’s never as nervous about our future or as concerned about our past as we are because He knows how the story will end. We get to a twist and feel like all is lost, but He knows the twist is only going to heighten the triumph. Although it might feel like the worst part, it’s actually setting up the best part.” And the question he asks at the end of the reading: “What are you allowing to unfold today?”
I needed that question because I am one who is not inclined to let anything just unfold. I worry and stress before things unfold. I try to plan and perfect everything before things just unfold. I let my heart be troubled about all kinds of trivial stuff. So, Jesus says, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” As much as we try to hold onto and control things, life does not always work that way. We go through seasons of life where we feel like we are in a wilderness fumbling to find our way. And even though we feel lost and alone, God knows the way we are going and knows that the things we go through will all make sense eventually. And often times the things we go through lead to something more beautiful than we could have ever hoped. God is a terrific storyteller. Even when it is hard, let life continue to unfold. God has got this.