“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in Me.” — John 14:1
Baffling and at the same time liberating are these words that clearly direct us not to be troubled. “Do not” is final and non-negotiable. It is not an option; it is a command. As I read it over and over, it echoes the truth in Philippians 4:6—“Do not be anxious about anything”—and that covers all circumstances.
When I am running late. I grew up with a father that was punctual. I recall how he would even go ahead of the rest of us, agree to meet us, just so that he could be at an occasion on time. I caught this trait and, as a single adult, would make it a point to be on time.
When I got married and had children, it was trickier to be prompt. More factors had to be considered, and I was less in control. I began to taste delay, even if I planned ahead, and it was draining and distressing! Then, I realized I had a choice to let it trouble me or not. I could reject or accept God’s invitation to trust Him.
Recently, we went to see the celebrated play Sound of Music. I distressed when we left the house after 6 as the play was at 7 p.m. I snapped at my children before riding the car and I knew I was letting the situation trouble me. I was also upset because I could not have my way, forgetting that the Lord is always on top of our schedules. I repented and asked the Lord to forgive me, and I asked help to trust Him that even if we were late, we would be okay with it. After this prayer, I relaxed, gave thanks for the good in the situation, and, as a result, became more pleasant. Thankfully, traffic was light and we arrived 5 minutes before the play started. I even had time to ask my kids forgiveness for snapping at them.
It doesn’t always turn out this way, but when I believe that Jesus stands as my Shepherd, whether I am running late or not, knowing He does not take a break from leading, I can say with confidence, as I choose to follow, “I have all that I need.” (Psalm 23:1)
When I am faced with tasks I procrastinate and the moment I am reminded, I can’t do anything about it. “Mom, when are we going to the eye doctor?” My heart sank at her question. It was past clinic hours and I completely forgot about the appointment! She had been complaining of blurry distant vision for some weeks now. We decided to wait till after her brother’s exams since his eyes were due for checkup, too. She reluctantly agreed, complaining that it was uncomfortable.
I began to feel guilty. How could I forget? How could I let her suffer blurry vision too long? More condemning questions as my heart began to be troubled. Then I remembered that Jesus is no accuser. So those questions were not His questions. It is my choice to be troubled or not. Choosing not to be intimidated by the situation, I reset the appointment, and this time we made it.
As we waited for our turn in the clinic, we were surprised to see my daughter’s dermatologist (and godfather) still at his clinic, which was a door away from our ophthalmologist. His clinic hours were supposed to be done an hour and a half earlier. Yet there he was, willing to be consulted. So that day, we hit two birds with one stone! We were spared from an additional trip. Would I have troubled my heart had I known the reset appointment would turn out this way?
When a loved one is troubled. The hurt and suffering of those I love can greatly affect me. It is hard to watch them go through disappointment and pain. But I realized, more than empathy, they need our genuine help. If I sympathize with my daughter’s eye discomfort but never attend to it, she will feel unheard, unloved.
Recently, I learned how a loved one was treated unfairly and I could not help but shed tears. Then, I was reminded to move from empathy to intercession, to pray for this person’s vindication.
I remember last Sunday’s illustration given by our pastor. He referred to the account where Peter walked on water as he fixed his eyes on Jesus, but as he let himself get distracted by the wind and the waves, he began to sink, crying out, “Lord, help me!” To this the Lord immediately responded, took a hold of his hand and lifted him to safety.
Our pastor reminded us of how our Lord walks above the wind and the waves. When Peter was in need, Jesus did not panic and grab him by the beard! He did not let His heart be troubled by what was happening. He calmly and immediately addressed the need. When a loved one is in trouble, we need to go past empathy and find out how we can be of help.
So when is your heart troubled? Remember Jesus’ words to trust, “Only My life in you can empower you to face this endless flow of problems with good cheer.” (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young)
Felichi Pangilinan-Buizon, co-host of The 700 Club Asia, is a homeschooling mom, gospel songwriter, and seminar speaker on parenting and early childcare. She is involved in the ministry of teaching at her local church, Christ’s Commission Fellowship. She welcomes your messages and comments at email@example.com.