More than two thousand years ago, Jesus' disciples knew what it was like to experience fear and worry as they faced an uncertain future. Jesus said something they really hadn't heard Him say before. He told them He would be leaving, and it turned their world — as they knew it — upside down. But then He went on to share some words to calm their troubled hearts. These words ring true in light of world events today and can calm our troubled hearts as well.
Let's consider what Jesus said to His disciples:
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:1-3 NKJV)Jesus starts by saying, "Let not your heart be troubled." Another way to translate this phrase is, "Don't be agitated or disturbed or thrown into confusion." He didn't say, "Mull over your problems." Rather, He said, "Don't be troubled."
Life is filled with trouble. It seems that once you have one problem resolved, three more take its place. Job 5:7 says, "Man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward" (NKJV). It is so true. From the moment we come into this life, there are all kinds of troubles awaiting us.
While there are reasons to be troubled in life, there are greater reasons to not be troubled. In Jesus' words, we find three reasons why we don't have to be gripped by fear, and why we can find hope in hopeless times.
Reason one: We know Jesus. Jesus told His disciples, "You believe in God, believe also in Me" (verse 1). What is He saying by implication? "I am God. You believe in God the Father. I am God the Son. Believe in Me. Trust Me." In the original language, this is a command. Jesus was not just asking the disciples to believe. He was commanding them.
There are times in our lives when we don't understand why God did or God did not do a certain thing. When I don't understand something about God, I always try to fall back on what I do understand. I do understand that God loves me. I do understand that He is looking out for me and has my best interests in mind. I do understand that no matter what happens, He will see me through.
Reason two: If you are a Christian, you are going to heaven. Jesus said, "In My Father's house are many mansions" (verse 2). God has placed eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). This simply means that we sense there is more to life, and that keeps us moving forward. No matter what experiences we have had, no matter how wonderful they were, they were just a glimpse of what is still ahead. No matter what happens to us on this earth, it pales in comparison to this great hope. There is a better world ahead, something far greater than what we are experiencing now.
Reason three: Jesus is coming again. Some day, in the not-too-distant future, Jesus Christ will set foot again on Earth. It might be sooner than we think. When the Lord returns, He will not merely send for us, but will come in person to escort us to the Father's house. He said, "I will come again and receive you to Myself" (verse 3). He will take us with Him to heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
Yes, there are some things we are afraid of, and rightly so, because it causes us to be discerning and careful. But we need to keep our fears in perspective. Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (NKJV).
With this in mind, let's think about what we should really be afraid of. The worst-case scenario is not dying. The worst-case scenario is dying without Jesus.
In a world of overwhelming worries and fears, we are reminded that anxiety doesn’t have to dominate our lives. Max Lucado takes an in-depth look at Philippians 4 in his new book, Anxious for Nothing.