Jesus often said to His followers . . . Don't be troubled. Yet He knew, from personal experience, what it was to be troubled. Here's what Jesus said as He faced the cross . . . Now my heart is troubled. What shall I say `Father, save me from this hour'? No it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name.' (John 12:27-28) Yes, in His humanity He dreaded the cross. He was troubled. His humanity wanted to avoid the cross. His greater desire, however, was that His Father be glorified. That is what mattered most to Him.
He said to His followers, then and now . . . In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33) You and I have found this to be true. All of us have had trouble . . . maybe past, or present, or yet to come. Jesus, too, as noted above, knew trouble. And He is able to readily identify with us in our times of trouble. He really understands our troubles.
And almost shockingly, even after telling us that we will have trouble, He says . . . but do not be troubled. Let's look at some of these passages:
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars: See to it that you be not troubled. (Matthew 24:6 KJV, NKJV)
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. (John 14:1)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
In reading these words, and thinking of some of my own troubles, my first thought is something like this . . ."You've gotta be kidding." Or . . . "But God, do you see my stress?" And . . . "Lord this is just too much." Yet He persists . . . Do not let your heart be troubled. Other translations put it like this . . . be not distressed, upset, disquieted, fearful, unsettled, intimidated.
On September 3, 1939, Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse was traveling by train through Europe on the way to preach in Belfast, Ireland. Hitler was unleashing his fury. There were wars and rumors of more wars. Britain's prime minister was ready to declare war. Everything was tense. What was next? Troops were boarding the train at each stop. He saw husbands and wives tearfully holding on to each other for one more moment. Children were weeping. Early on Sunday morning, Barnhouse awakened early. God gave him a text to preach later that morning. It was Matthew 24:6, quoted above. He talked of the plight of the people and then added the words of Jesus, Be not troubled. He further painted the picture of separated families and added . . . Be not troubled. The preacher then added these thoughts: "These words are either the words of a madman or they are the words of God." He continued as He looked heavenward: "God, unless Jesus Christ is God, then these words are the most horrible that could be spoken to men who have hearts that can weep and bowels which can be gripped by human compassion and sympathy."
In recent days, I have spoken with individuals who have just been diagnosed with a serious disease. Even as I write this letter to you, a dear friend is sitting for six hours in a clinic, receiving chemo-therapy dripping into her veins. And then there is you with a heaviness, perhaps even experiencing multiple losses, one after another. And Jesus says . . . Let not your heart be troubled.
In the texts quoted throughout this letter, I glean these promises from Jesus.
He says "trust me." Even when you don't get it. . .when you don't like it.
He says "cheer up." Is it even possible? Yes it is. Accept His resources.
He says "my peace I give to you." No matter what is going on around you, you can experience His peace. It is His promise.
Founder, Senior Associate
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