Trouble has a way of interrupting our otherwise great lives. How irritating, how unfair when we were busy getting our lives just how we wanted them for trouble to show up on our doorstep! Of course, one of the reasons it is called trouble is that it is not welcome and almost never announced. Covid-19 is one of those life-altering bits of trouble that no one planned to deal with, especially with its interruption of all things normal in our lives. Though every individual will have to tackle their own rearrangement of worship, work, school, and shopping, the Bible does give us some wonderful insight into how we can handle the anxiety and emotional fear that comes along with it.
Jesus deals with “troubled hearts” in John 14:1-3. Notice with me three key words from this passage:
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
What is it to have a troubled heart? The word troubled means that our hearts are agitated, stirred up; they have a complete loss of peace, tranquility, and rest. Our circumstances are not what we wanted or planned; and now we have anxiety over what to do, what is next, how to fix it. Jesus speaks these words to His disciples on the eve where everything in their lives is going to change. He is going to be arrested, crucified, and He is leaving. For three years He has been in their lives. Their hope and dreams have been built on His presence and His leadership. Now their emotions are roiling, their fears are rising, and their futures have a question mark over them. To those confused and troubled hearts, Jesus speaks these words in John 14. We have all had our lives thrown into confusion by the events of these last days and weeks because of coronavirus. Our children are out of school, many of us can’t go to work, we cannot even worship together at church. Talk about changed lives in a moment, we have them. Welcome to the land of “troubled hearts.”
When Jesus perceived that His disciple’s hearts were troubled, what was His message to them? The first element of truth He offered them was, to believe. Have faith, be fully persuaded in and of God. God is our all-powerful Creator God. He has the power to create but He also has the power to sustain. No circumstance that we face in anyway negates His power. Not only is He Creator God, He is our compassionate Saviour. What the disciples had observed for the three years of His public ministry was the true definition of who Jesus was. He is caring and compassionate. He is kind and gentle. He is aware of our needs and powerfully able to meet them. From the calming of wind and waves, to the feeding of thousands with little, to raising the dead, Jesus is able. Today our circumstances are not beyond the ability of our God to sustain us and even prosper us. Fear would have you think that your circumstances are somehow beyond God’s scope of ability but quite the contrary, with God nothing shall be impossible. You believe God is Creator, believe also that He can sustain you in these troubled times.
I am not suggesting by the word “prepare” that we develop a prepper mentality, though there is wisdom in appropriate planning. When our President travels, there is an advance team that goes before him and prepares for his visit, wherever it might be. Long before he takes flight in Air Force One the advance team has taken his helicopter, his limousine, and prepared his quarters at the destination so that he is both safe and comfortable. The Lord Jesus has gone on before us to “prepare” us a place for eternity. We did not prepare our place in eternity, Jesus prepared it for us. If the Lord Jesus can prepare us a place in Heaven and take care of us for eternity future, how do we not understand that He is perfectly able to care for us in this present world, regardless of our outward circumstances? My wife is a consummate homemaker, it is not that she loves things; but she loves her family and loves them to have in their home just what they need. When we moved from Virginia to Charlotte, she had to go on before me and prepare the house while I finished things in Woodbridge. When I arrived at our new home, I could hardly believe the attention to detail and the love displayed in the way she had set up my home office. She had put much love and effort into not only making it comfortable for me, but making it special for me as well. Her love for me was seen in her preparation of a place for me. Jesus loves you more than my wife loves me! He loves you now and will care and provide for you in this life and the best is yet to come.
Note one final thought in John 14:26–27. While Jesus is preparing a place for you and me, He has not left us alone. He knew there would be circumstances that would trouble our hearts so He left us a Comforter, His Holy Spirit. Yes, there are times of trouble, but believe in the power and goodness of God; for God is preparing for tomorrow and will provide for today. He will comfort your troubled heart.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.