“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”
The disciples had good reason to be troubled. Their Master who they had faithfully imperfectly followed for more than two years was soon to face execution. Not only would they ultimately feel threatened themselves, but their hopes seemed to be utterly dashed in what made no sense to them at all. But Jesus speaks into that mess with a message of peace, an inward peace that he wanted them to have even in the midst of that.
This word from our Lord was not only for them but is for us as well. We’re told to not let our hearts be troubled, but instead to believe in God and to believe in him, Jesus. That requires a commitment to act in that way. When Jesus originally said this, I’m not sure his disciples heard it well. Probably in varying degrees though surely none of them fully. They couldn’t help but see what was right in front of them, what was happening, and couldn’t see the good that could possibly come out of this. Although the Lord told them repeatedly that he would suffer, indeed be killed, but on the third day would be raised, they just didn’t get it. It made no sense to them. Jesus then gave them this promise along with what follows:
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
I think a large part of not letting our hearts be troubled over the many difficulties and trials of life is in significant part accepting the reality that we’re just not going to understand it all. If we can just suspend, better completely drop the idea that we have to understand everything to have peace, then that might well be half the battle. The other half is that we’re simply to believe in God, to believe in Christ, which means we put our trust in them and in their word. That has to be our focus. Not on the trial or problem itself, but on our Lord and on our Lord’s promises to us.
It’s not like the trial is unimportant. What’s more important is our follow through on this, than on the resolution of the actual situation itself. Do we believe that God is in the works, including in that so that we no longer have to be troubled? That is a stance or movement of faith.
We’re told not to let our hearts be troubled meaning that we actually have control over that. We can’t change a troubled heart in a moment but must do what Jesus tells us here. Better yet is to do that before we become troubled, but I know that’s easier said than done but that should be our goal in the long haul.
But for now, let’s believe that God will help us in whatever we’re facing. We won’t get it perfect; we won’t get it all right. But God will and God will see us through. All will be okay and more than okay in the end. We must believe and act accordingly. In and through Jesus.