Hopeful Words for Troubled Hearts
Bible Reading: John 14:1-6
Martin Luther called this passage “the best and most comforting sermon that the Lord Christ delivered on earth, a treasure and a jewel.” There’s no human pain so deep as that of separation. Nothing works to trouble the heart to a greater extent than that. What hope is there for comfort amidst the sorrow of personal loss? Where can we go for reassurance things will somehow be okay? In these words of Jesus, we’ll discover there’s good reason for hope, even amidst the most troublesome of circumstances.
“Let not your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1). Jesus knew what was in the hearts of His disciples. They were no doubt sad and bewildered and afraid. Jesus had already spoken to them of things they could not comprehend–betrayal, desertion, suffering, death. That was hard enough, but then Jesus spoke of going away (John 13:33, 36). It was just too much for them. They had abandoned everything to follow Jesus. They heard him speak as no man had ever spoken. They’d seen Him do things no man had ever done. They loved Him. They trusted Him. Things were not going according to plan–they thought He’d come to reign as Messiah. They’d loved and served Him for 3 and ½ years, now He speaks of leaving them?
So, what was Jesus’ message to His troubled friends? First, He encouraged them to trust Him. As they believed in God, so they were to believe in Him. “Faith is..the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). They hadn’t seen God, yet they believed in Him. Jesus was going to leave them, but that didn’t mean He would cease to exist. As they trusted God, whom they could not see, so they could continue to trust Jesus after His departure (Matthew 28:20; 1 Peter 1:8). Trust means focusing not on our troubles, but instead on the One who is there in any circumstance. The One who has promised to never leave us or forsake us! Are you even now troubled of heart for some reason–the first thing to be done is to look to Jesus and trust Him!
Second, Jesus encouraged His disciples by way of His promise regarding their future home in heaven. He spoke to them of His Father’s house, a place having many dwelling places. There’ll be plenty of room there for us all! In this world, our homes are often the setting not only of welcome greetings, but sad farewells. The day is coming when we’ll step into our heavenly home where there’ll be no more sad goodbyes! Jesus has gone to heaven to prepare a place for us. The One who “does all things well” has been working for two thousand years to get things ready! One can only imagine who glorious heaven will be! He’s coming again for us. He’ll take us home! Such comforting knowledge!
How are we to find our way there? That’s what Thomas wondered. It’ll do no good to type “heaven” into your GPS, it doesn’t know the way. I’m reminded of all my visits to Uganda, being driven from village to village to the various churches. There were no road signs or maps. I was totally at the mercy of our driver, Paul Mwesigwa, who always knew how to get where we were going. When it comes to heaven, you don’t need to know the specifics of how to get there, you just need to know the One who knows the way and is the way (John 14:6)!
“Let not your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1). Jesus knows your heart. He knows all about your heartache. He’s not far away, He’s promised His presence. He’ll never leave you, or forsake you! Trust Him. “Let not your hearts be troubled.” In this life there is loss and pain and sorrow, but Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a new place for us in which there’ll be none of that! He’s been getting things ready and He’s going to come again to take us home! “And so we will always be with the Lord! (1 Thessalonians 4:18)!
Augustus Toplady, who wrote “Rock of Ages,” died in London at the age of 38. When death drew near, he said, “It is my dying vow that these great and glorious truths which the Lord in rich mercy has given me to believe and enabled me to preach are now brought into practical and heartfelt experience. They are the very joy and support of my soul…” About an hour before he died, he seemed to awaken from a gentle slumber. His last words were, “Oh! What delight! Who can fathom the joys of heaven! I know it cannot be long now until my Savior will come for me.” And then bursting into a flood of tears he said, “All is light, light, light, light, the brightness of His own glory. Oh, come Lord Jesus, come. Come quickly!” And he closed his eyes.
Troubled Hearts Should Look to Jesus for Hope
Lord Jesus. Thank you for always knowing what’s in my heart. You are not oblivious to my troubles and heartache. You know and care and are able to intervene on my behalf. Sometimes life gets so confusing I lose my bearings and am at a loss in which way to go. Forgive me for my lack of trust. Point me again in the right direction. Fill my heart with the certain hope of the promise You’ve made of the place You are preparing! Remind me again…in knowing You I know the way home. And I’m never alone on the journey because You are right here with me. Amen.