Tag Archives: John 14

Chill, and Follow

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.”
John 14:1a (NRSV)

When I was a boy, my mom used to complain about my pessimism. I fretted and fussed on a regular basis. The glass was clearly half empty in my mind, and I was perpetually certain that life would soon suck the other half dry and leave me with nothing. I have distinct memories of sitting at our kitchen counter and getting a lecture from my mother about always being a pessimist (and not really knowing what a pessimist was).

Jesus said that there is “fruit” that becomes evident in the lives of those who follow Him. As I look back at my life journey to this point, one of the things that is evident to me is that my relationship with Jesus has taught this pessimist about living with faith.

Wendy will tell you that my pessimistic spirit has not completely left me, and there are still times that my heart slips back into my natural, glass half-empty fame of mind. However, what Jesus has taught me over the years is that there is a “letting” that occurs with a troubled heart. “Do not let your heart be troubled,” He said. I allow my heart to be troubled. I choose in to the anxiety. I give fear and anxiety permission to place shackles on my spirit.

The other choice Jesus gave His followers was to believe. “Don’t let your heart be troubled,” He said, “believe.” Believe that Jesus is working all things together, even my present circumstances, for the good. Believe that God will provide. Believe that there is purpose in my present pain that I cannot see in the moment. Believe that if I embrace the mystery of the moment I will someday look back and see with clarity what that purpose was. Believe that God is with me. Believe that God is for me. Believe that God will direct my steps. Believe that God’s grace is sufficient.

Today, I am reminded just how much I have come to trust God and how much of my daily life has become predicated on faith. It’s a bit wild, actually. Taylor likes to blog about writing letters to her younger self, and this morning I find myself thinking about writing a note to the pessimistic boy getting lectured by mother at the kitchen counter.

Listen to your mother, little man, and don’t let your heart be troubled. Choose to believe what Jesus tells you. You can trust Him. Chill, and follow.

Chapter-a-Day John 14

Source: jonragnarsson via Flickr

“No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.” John 14:18 (NLT)

Last weekend Wendy and I were in a production at the local community center. As part of the development of our roles each actor in the play was required to create a character study. The director then printed edited versions of the character studies and hung them in the gallery for audience members to peruse during intermission. As I was getting the gallery ready before the performance of Sunday’s matinee one of my fellow actors was reading through all of the character studies.

“It’s interesting,” he said, “how many of these characters had fathers who were missing or dead.” Sure enough, a majority of the actors had written that their character’s father was unknown, dead or had abandoned them.

Along the journey I’ve come to recognize just how large of a hole is torn in one’s soul when a child feels or is abandoned by their father. The effects go deep and are long lasting. I had to ask myself how many of the actors in the show last weekend were projecting their own personal pain into that of their characters.

I don’t think I’ve appreciated how this profoundly personal issue is intertwined in Jesus’ story. Jesus makes a point of telling His followers that He is not abandoning them, even as He prepares to be taken from them for execution. Despite what they may think, feel, perceive and experience in the coming days, they are not abandoned – they are not orphaned. Jesus even encouraged His followers with these words less than 24 hours before He Himself would take on the sins of the world, suffer a cruel death and cry out from the cross “My God, why have you abandoned me?”

Today as I prepare to observe Jesus’ betrayal, death and resurrection in the coming weekend, I’m struck that the core human fear of abandonment is woven throughout the story. I’m also reminded that while the scars of abandonment run deep they are not lethal, nor inevitable, nor impervious to healing. Addressing and healing, once and for all, the pain of abandonment is at the core of why Jesus came to us in the first place.