Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

“Let not your heart be troubled, believe in God, believe also in Me.”  John 14:1

Those are familiar words to all of us. Jesus was talking to his disciples. In a few short hours he would be arrested.

The current situation was alarming. Most of them had no idea how alarming it was.  They must have sensed Jesus was on edge, but even though he had tried to tell them of the trouble that was coming they couldn’t comprehend it.

He tried shifting their gaze from earthly trouble to heavenly peace. (John 14:2-3) It is a good place to rest our eyes. These days of sickness, unrest and trouble have been taking it’s toll on our children, our families, our countries, and our world. I can’t remember another time like this in my life. There have been wars, and local trouble, but this trouble is world wide.

What kind of power could make this such a world wide event? I can think of only one. Satan, himself. He is determined to destroy men and turn them against each other and more importantly against God.

We are reminded in Ephesians 6:12

“for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” 

My granddaughter, Arianna asked me the other day why God didn’t come and make the new heaven and the new earth now. (II Peter 3:13) Why was He waiting?

I paused, because I long for that too.  My answer was simple.

God is very patient. He is waiting for those that might yet decide to come to Him.

II Peter 3:8-9 “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise as some count slowness, but is patient towards you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 

Are you one of those He is waiting for? Have you turned to Him in repentance and accepted His forgiveness?

We each have a great need. Our sin has separated us from a holy God. Because He loves us He has made a way for us to come back to Him. Jesus took our punishment on the cross. Paid for our sin. He rose three days later and conquered death.  He asks us to repent and believe.

Repentance involves a change of direction.  Turning away from selfish and worldly pursuits and a turning to God.

There is trouble now.

I don’t know if it will be temporary or if this is the beginning of the end.

Wouldn’t now be a good time to make things right with God?

Ezekiel 18:32 puts it simply. “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies, declares the Lord, so repent and live.”

 

 For further study:

I Peter 5:8

“Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:28b

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold now is the day of salvation.” II Corinthians 6:2

Learning to Lament

Lamenting isn’t something Americans do well. We know how to complain, whine, throw pity parties, but lamenting is completely different.

Lamenting is taking our deep sadness and trouble and bringing it to the only one who can help, God Himself. Realizing the God who made us is the only one who can sort out our difficulty. Admitting that we are helpless without Him.

So here is a very private letter to God. I don’t think he would mind me sharing it with you.

” Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD. For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.” Jeremiah 17:5-8

Dear Abba Father,

My heart is so heavy. I feel like a bush in the desert, not like the tree by the river.

We are isolated and alone. Forbidden to gather or meet. Grieving the loss of contact.

A handshake, a hug,

NOT ALLOWED!

And a little bit of us dies every day.

We are becoming more inward focused. We weren’t made to be alone. We were made to interact and come along side. To work hard for the common good.

Instead we are turning on each other. Friend against friend, neighbor against neighbor, disagreements over how we should move forward, what to do, what not to do. Anger is close to the surface, ready to boil over if you don’t think like me, if you don’t act like me. We each have our own “expert”. Woe to the man who listens to the wrong one.

Father, please open our communities back up. I pray that those who have an evil agenda would be thwarted. That those who are ignorant would gain wisdom, that those who are deceived would see the truth, that those who are sick would be healed, that doctors who have answers would be heard, that leaders grasping for power would be put down and removed.

Most of all that those who need the gospel would be receptive, that they would seek and find, that we would speak boldly about the hope within us.

Punish evil men and forces that would do harm to our families, churches, cities. I pray that truth would prevail, that the veil of deception would be swept away.

I ask these things not because we deserve it for we are a wicked, sinful people. We fail to turn our faces fully to you. We rely on ourselves, our leaders and our governments to “save” us.

We turn in repentance. You alone give us life and breath. It is through you that all things hold together. I pray that you would show yourself strong in defeating this enemy. They are nothing to you. With a word you can dismiss the virus. With a word you can expose the proud and corrupt.

I pray that you would do it in a way that is unmistakably you. Do a new spectacular thing.

Today the birds are still gathering, the sun is still shining, the trees are springing to life. The wind is calm, the waters are still.

I believe you will act. I know you hear. I know you see and take notice. Bring salvation to many through this. Soften hearts to finally see you. Bring repentance and a renewed commitment to you and your ways.

Thank you for being a God who is not sleeping or silent. Thank you that you are already at work in this world gone mad.

Today I will honor you with my mind, with my actions, with my voice.

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14