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Have you ever had one of those times where you woke up in the middle of the night and started to worry? And if you didn’t have anything to worry about, you started to worry about that.
When you are worried, when you are stressed, it can actually hurt you physically. Studies have suggested that high levels of stress can lead to obesity and trigger a raft of diseases. According to the experts, heart attacks to ulcers, depression, nervous breakdowns and even cancer can be stress-related.
Of course, there are so many things in our world to freak us out today, from world events to natural disasters to the threat of terrorism within our own borders.
Then we all have our own personal fears that we face. Disappointment is a trouble, and there are many disappointments in life. We are disappointed with ourselves because we are not always what we want to be. We want to be strong, but we are often weak. We want to be successful, but we experience many failures. We want to be loved, but people are often indifferent toward us. People disappoint us. They let us down. Circumstances are a source of trouble, too, such as the loss of a job, an unexpected sickness, or something not going right.
In John 14, Jesus gave words of comfort for hearts that are troubled or filled with fear. They are God’s cure for heart trouble:
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (John 14:1–3 NLT).
When Jesus originally delivered these words, he had just revealed that Judas Iscariot would betray him. That came as a shock to the disciples, by the way. When he said one of them would betray him, no one stood up and pointed at Judas. And when Jesus did reveal his betrayer, they couldn’t believe it.
And then Jesus dropped the ultimate bombshell: He was going to leave them. The disciples didn’t understand that he was going to the cross to die for the sins of the world. All they knew was that Jesus said he was going to leave them, and they were agitated. They were stressed out. They were filled with fear. So Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled.” In the original language, the word used for “troubled” is an interesting one that means “shudder.” In other words, Jesus was saying, “Don’t let your heart shudder. It may look like your world is falling apart and darkness is about to overtake you, but don’t let your heart be troubled. And let me tell you why. …”
Then Jesus gave three reasons why they didn’t have to be afraid. And they are reasons we can also apply to our lives today.
First, take God at his word. Jesus said, “Trust in God, and trust also in me.” Do you believe in God? When you are a believer, you are not a victim of circumstance, hoping that your luck will not run out. Rather, you know that God has a plan, and he has given you a user’s manual to live by called the Bible. It points you to God and shows you how to live forever. Yet many people won’t read it.
Second, if you are a Christian, then you are going to heaven. Jesus said, “There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” That is good news. It means that no matter what you are going through, it pales in comparison when you look at it in the light of this great hope. Deep inside, every one of us looks forward to going to a place we have never been before. C.S. Lewis called this the inconsolable longing. It is a longing for heaven, whether we know it or not, because God made us that way. He created us in his image.
Third, Jesus Christ is coming back again. He said, “When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” We have never been closer to the return of Jesus Christ than we are at this very moment.
When Gen. Douglas MacArthur left the Philippines in the early months of World War II, he fled Corregidor in apparent defeat. Upon reaching Australia, he sent back this now-famous declaration: “I shall return.” He kept his promise. It took him a little longer than many had hoped, but three years later, MacArthur stood on Philippine soil and proclaimed his second historic statement: “I have returned.”
Jesus said, “I will come again.” And some day, in the not-too-distant future, he will set his foot and Planet Earth and say, “I have returned.” He is coming back again.
When it comes to eternity, people will say, “Well, I just believe that if I am good enough and just do good things, then that will do it.” But there is only one person who has ever walked this earth who could put us in contact with the God we are separated from. It was Jesus. He lived the perfect life. He never sinned. Not even once. He voluntarily went to a cross and died for the sin of the world. It was so we could be forgiven of every sin we have ever committed and know that when we die, we will go to heaven and be ready for the Lord’s return.
Do you have heart trouble today? Are you afraid? If so, Jesus Christ can remove that fear and replace it with faith.