By: Ally Seiple
How many times have you been faced with a desperate situation that has left you with a troubled heart? When I was a senior in high school, I remember being at a crossroad in my life and searching for direction to find my best path. I didn’t quite know where I was going or what exactly I was going to do, I just knew I had to decide… And soon. I remember spending that summer after graduation stressed, frustrated, confused, anxious, fearful, worrying, doubting, etc., and while these feelings were present, I found myself asking this question: Why do I feel so anxious?
The gospel of John Chapter 14 begins by instructing us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God and trust also in me.” In this chapter, Jesus is preparing the disciples for His upcoming death, resurrection and ascension. He instructs them to continue His work and comforts them with the assurance they would eventually be united with Him. So why do we feel anxious? In this passage, Jesus gives several reasons not to be anxious:
- The Father has prepared a place for us and is making a way for us to enter His place. –By the work of the cross (14:2-3).
- Where the Father is, we will be – He is our dwelling place. (14:4)
- The Father and Son are one. If we have Jesus, we have the Father (14:6 and 14:10-11).
- The Father is with us now and wherever we go. He has adopted us as his own and we are not alone (14:12-18).
We are not alone. We can find comfort in that, in desperate situations when we are troubled about family issues, marriage issues, health issues, church or job issues. In these moments, the remedy is to trust Him. We cannot figure anything out by ourselves; we will not make it through. We have a Father that goes the extra mile. In verse 15, Jesus promises the Holy Spirit. He says: “If you love me and obey my commandments, I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate who will never leave you.” Jesus told his disciples if they kept the word of God, then He, the Father and the Holy Spirit would abide in them and teach them all things (14:26). **Note: Jesus makes it very clear these things are given to those who love Him. Not to the world, not to those who call themselves Christians, but those who love Him and keep His commands (14:21).
Finally, in verse 27, Jesus says: “I am leaving you with a gift – Peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give so don’t be troubled or afraid.” The peace of God is not circumstantially based, it is peace in Him. If we relied on the peace that the world gives (i.e. retirement, health insurance, law enforcement officers, etc.), then what would happen if those things were taken away? John 16:33 says: “I have told you this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows, but take heart, because I have overcome the world.” We cannot solely understand His peace nor can we make it happen on our own.
This gospel allows faith to strengthen believers and to awaken unbelievers. By believing in the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit and trusting His word, anxiety will lift. We can take joy in the fact that God is in charge, not us! When we live this way, we become free. If Christ is in us, we have life (John 14:6). Trust Him. He is our deliverer, our omnipotent helper and our divine comforter.