Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled by Ed Dunn

What a time we’ve lived through together these last few years! How could we have ever imagined a global virus that would lock us down for so long? Or social injustice and unrest that would threaten to tear our country apart?  And now, the war in the Ukraine. These have been troubling times, indeed. And yet, we now find ourselves in the midst of a new Easter season. As we do, what perspective can we see in the life of Jesus to help us face and feel his peace during troubling times such as these?

The gospel account is well familiar to us during this special time of year. John 14:1-27 (KJV) gives us a glimpse into a conversation as Jesus reminds his followers: “Let not your heart be troubled.” As we look at both Jesus’ context and words, I must admit I love the poetry of the old King James version. The phrasing in this translation, “Let not,” is such a beautiful way of expressing a thought we may not hear so often these days. Beginning the thought with the word, “let,” is by no means an accident. Please, “let” me explain.

We see Jesus seated at a table for a meal with those closest to him. His context is troubling. Jesus knew well what was coming. He knew what many in the Jewish community were hoping for that Passover. He knew the depths of the insecurity and constant state of scheming of the religious authorities. At the same time, Jesus also knew the extent of Roman authority and brutality, and how the Romans used that brutality to maintain order. Jesus had no doubt seen all of it with his own eyes. Soon, the world around them all would erupt, and Jesus would suffer an unjust public and painful death.                                                                                                                                 

Despite all that was taking place around them, where was Jesus’ focus? How was he facing the troubling times in front of him? In the face of events that would most certainly trouble any human heart, Jesus was focused on the peace within. Jesus was focused on his heart, on his internal space, as well as that of his closest followers. Hard as it may be for us to fully imagine, just hours before a series of terrible events would unfold, Jesus was offering the peace his followers would need to face all that would happen to him, and, all that would eventually happen to them, as well.

Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled.” The word, “let,” indicates that we have the chance to choose to participate in his peace. The peace of Christ does not force itself upon us. God the Holy Spirit does not violate our free will. Instead, we choose to let, to allow, that peace to do its work within us. We share in the process of transformation that takes place. As we “let,” we face our own troubling events in life with a deep sense of calm. Christ in us calms us.

We participate in a collaborative effort. We know the peace of Christ resides within us through the Holy Spirit. We focus on that peace, give thanks for it, and let it complete its perfect work. No matter what we may face, by Christ and his indwelling peace within us, we allow there to be space around our troubles. We breathe and stand fast in him, all the while remembering how he concludes his conversation: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you…let not your heart be troubled.” (John 14:27, KJV). With all we’ve lived through together these last few years, we give thanks that Christ in us gives us peace and a sense of calm. May you have a wonderful Easter season!

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