Do you ever have one of those days when you can’t seem to stay focused on anything? Even with your itemized to-do list, you can barely keep the blinders on to get your tasks completed? I’m having one of those days. Actually, the past few weeks have been like that.
I don’t do well having unfinished business hanging over my head. I’m a fairly disciplined person. Over the years, I’ve learned what is realistic for me to accomplish in a day, how to prioritize tasks to get everything done, and then I stick to the plan.
Sometimes, however, there are pieces that can’t be scheduled or completed until something else happens. That’s the vortex I’m in now. One appointment led to having some tests, which is taking me to specialists, who are asking for more tests and more appointments. It’s all happening rather quickly, but with four different areas, there are several pieces of data that must be collected in order to create a treatment plan for each area and then prioritize what gets done and in what order. It’s project identification, planning, and execution except that this project is a little more personal and I want to know what I’m dealing with.
I laughed when I opened the Scripture text for this week. Timely, as are my Daily Word, as usual. Here is the passage:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. ~ John 14:1-14
This is a doctrinally rich text, but I’m only going to focus on one small aspect: an untroubled heart. That’s what Jesus is focusing on for his friends. He knows his time among them is coming to a close and he’s trying to prepare them without overwhelming them. He wants to give them an anchor they can hold to when they enter the vortex of great uncertainty that is sure to come once he’s gone.
A troubled heart comes in many forms and disguises. Sometimes, I think it’s not so much the particulars of the trouble, but what’s unknown or unfamiliar that creates uncertainty and a troubled heart. Most of us want to know what to expect, so we know how to behave. We want to know what to do, so we can do it. We want to know the question, so we can formulate an answer. We want to know the problem, so we can create a resolution.
The other aspect of the troubled heart we don’t often factor is that we are never fully untroubled. There is always something waiting in the wings for it’s opportunity. Sometimes it builds on a previous trouble, like an out-of-control lifestyle behavior that creates or leads to other problems. Other times, it completely takes us by surprise and we have no inkling, like a tragic accident or unanticipated death.
We may never completely experience an untroubled heart, but knowing we are not alone and that we are equipped for whatever comes along can go a long way in helping us find and maintain peace even in great upheaval. That’s the untroubled heart Jesus is talking about. He’s not telling us about an untroubled heart. He’s telling us that he will untrouble our hearts.
We can add the untroubler to all of those I am statements Jesus makes throughout the Gospel of John. Jesus reminds his friends that everything they need to know, they know. Not because they know the plan or what to do or where to go, but because they know the person who is and does.
Do not let your hearts be troubled because I am whatever you need for whatever you face wherever you are. ~ Jesus