“Do not let your heart be troubled” (John 14:1). The Amplified version describes this ‘troubling’ as being ‘distressed, agitated, fearful, disturbed, intimidated, or unsettled.’ Quite a list of troubling adjectives.
And sometimes, each of them describes how I feel. The real problem comes when they all bundle together to make a giant troubled heart.
We may think God should keep us in the place of joy, even when bad things happen. ‘Count it all joy,’ James said.
I plan to have a conversation with James someday about this idea. Wondering how James and his cohorts in the early church managed to have joy when they were in danger of having their heads chopped off.
If it is not God’s responsibility to keep us in joy, then the task must be up to us. To ‘not let’ the struggles of life overwhelm us. How we react to challenges determines how we ultimately feel about them and how long we stay in that place of agitation.
A deeper study of John 14 reveals some action steps we can take to ‘not let’ our hearts be troubled:
- Believe in God. Doesn’t everything always come back to trust?
- Rely on God. Lean in hard.
- Remember everything will be resolved in the future. The ultimate place of peace is within the next timeline. After we’ve used up these earthly bodies and are zipping around in the spiritual world.
- Pray for the grace to endure. I pray for the Ukrainian people almost every day. Maybe some of them are praying for us, too.
- Ask God to help return the joy. My experience of God’s love is that he truly does want to help us.
- Remember the Spirit lives in us and is always just a whisper away. This amazing Spirit is always available with multiple attributes. He has several names:
- The Comforter – that sweet warmth that pours over us when we are at the end of ourselves
- The Counselor – listening to our struggles and giving us guidance
- The Helper – even the most basics of how to help us make it through our challenges
- The Intercessor – I love this one! When I’m beyond myself, I ask the Spirit to pray for me
- The Advocate – fighting for us. Always on our side.
- The Strengthener – troubles stretch our faith muscles and can ultimately make us stronger
- The Standby – always ready
- The Teacher – helping us learn more about the Divine Three and how God works in us and through us
- The Giver of peace – we can actually own this peace
So how do we find this place of peace? We do ‘not let’ our hearts be troubled. We focus on the above bullets and stay in hope. We keep gratitude as the main outpouring of our hearts. Talk less about the problems and more about Who God is.
Will more troubles come? You can bet on it. But you can also hang your hope on the One who loves you enough to help you through those troubles and bring you out on the other end — filled with hope and peace.
©2023 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
Hope is a daily discipline. Check out some ways to keep hope in front of you. Day by Day: Hope for Senior Wisdom.