Jump Start # 3272
Jump Start # 3272
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled nor let it be fearful.”
Our verse today is very similar to what we find in Luke, “Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.” John says, “troubled hearts.” Luke says, “lost hearts.” Within the framework of these two passages, there are several reasons why the disciples could have heart problems. Jesus was leaving. He was first going to be crucified, then raised, then ascended. They wouldn’t have Jesus right with them any more. They would not have Jesus helping them, correcting them, guiding them anymore. They were to be on their own. Faith would have to drive them.
Our hearts become troubled because of problems. And, just who doesn’t have problems. And, if you don’t have enough of your own problems, from toxic co-workers, to health issues, to matters down at the church house, to issues in the family, there are other problems that creep into our lives. High prices. Empty shelves. Balloons floating over the nation.
I was reading some things about Joshua the other day and came across this:
“Problems happen. They happen to rich people, sexy people, educated people, sophisticated people. They happen to retired people, single people, spiritual people and secular people. All people have problems. But not all people see problems the same way. Some people are overcome by problems. Others overcome problems. Some people are left bitter. Others are left better. Some people face their challenges with fear. Others with faith” (Glory Days, pg. 151, 152).
I would add to this, some problems are big and others are small. Some people hide their problems. Others can’t, even if they wanted to. Some problems seem to hang around for a long time. Some problems are a direct result of our choices. We invited the problems into our lives. Some problems come to us uninvited and unannounced. And, some problems change a person. Some are never the same again.
Running through the first two pages of Job, we find a long list of problems that he faced from theft, financially ruined, health problems, marriage issues, death of his children and the lingering question, “Why? Why me?”
I like the joke that says, “The man who says all his problems are behind him, probably drives a school bus.”
Now some observations:
First, trying to find a way to live a problem free life isn’t going to happen. You’ll never see a sign as you enter a city that boasts, “Welcome to a trouble free city.” Nope. No such place exists. Even on vacations, trouble follows us. Flying. Hotels. Rental cars. Crowds. Prices. Somewhere in all of that, there will be a problem. I told someone recently, at every wedding, something doesn’t go as planned. Always. We burn a lot of energy and get easily frustrated when we try to live a problem free life. The dog throws up. The toilet overflows. The car won’t start. The dishwasher makes a funny noise. Your child can’t find his shoes. You left the baby’s favorite blanket at grandma’s house and now he won’t go to sleep. You get to work and the computer is running slow. There’s drama among the staff and they want to pull you into the middle of it. Your head hurts and you forgot to bring aspirin. You forgot a dentist appointment and now they want to charge you for not cancelling it. The trash truck has already passed your house when you remember that you forgot to set it out last night.
Second, problems can get to us or we can make the most of the problems. Stress levels fly off the charts when we allow our problems to ruin our days and sour our attitudes and moods. You’re going to have problems, there is no getting around that. Things do not always go the way you planned them. You can cry. You can complain. You can throw yourself a pity party. You can ruin everyone else’s day by talking about how bad your day is, or you navigate through those problems the best you can. Pray. Pray often. Your character and your heart become most visible when people see you through stressful times. Your kids notice. Your spouse notice. Brethren notice. God notices.
Jesus words in our passage puts us in control of things. Let not your heart be troubled is a choice. One can say, “I can’t help it. These problems came into my life and now I am bothered and upset.” That’s how we see things. Jesus said, don’t let that happen. Troubles may come but they do not have to trouble you. He added, do not let your heart become “fearful.” Troubles always seem the worse at night. Our minds always assume the worst. Yet, with the morning light, and a day full of activities, our troubles seem more manageable.
Third, keep the heavenly perspective. Two things to remember here. First, God is always upon the throne. Always. Prayer to Him helps. He hears. He listens. He responds. Second, all of our troubles stay here. There won’t be any troubles following you into Heaven. The is an end to our troubles. Our troubles are not eternal. That gives us hope and allows us to endure.
One of our hymns begins with these words, “Troublesome times are here, filling mens hearts with fear.” So true. So profound. It can be discouraging or we can realize, This world is not our home. Troubles make us long even more for that Heavenly home with our Father.
Let not your heart be troubled…sure is something to think about, especially in these troubled times.