Benjamin Franklin said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes. But I’d like to add a third certainty: worry. Just name it and we seem to worry about it. The list is long and includes such areas as work, money, our health, a friend or loved one’s health, relationships, our appearance, aging, growing old alone, our family’s safety, being the victim of a crime, our future and our children’s future. We even worry about our pet’s health. Over 80% of us lose sleep over worrying about something yet studies reveal that 85% of what we worry about never happens! Worry has been with us for centuries and there is a classic example of worry from over 2,000 years ago in Scripture.
In the thirteenth chapter of the gospel of John we see the culmination of Jesus’s ministry on earth with the beginning of the upper room discourse. After washing the disciples’ feet, after Judas leaves to betray Jesus, and after Jesus gives the disciples a new commandment to love one another, Jesus then drops the bombshell to the eleven that He will be leaving them and they will not be able to follow Him…until later. Can you just imagine the high anxiety among the disciples? Jesus who they have followed faithfully for over three years is now leaving them. They don’t understand and they must have been rocked by this announcement.
Jesus knows their hearts and chapter 14 opens with Jesus saying to the 11: “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Jesus then gives some reasons not to worry, which are applicable to the disciples then, and is equally true for all of us today.
John 14:1-3 gives two specific ways to combat worry.
Faith in our Lord brings relief. To believe in someone is to rely on him or trust him. In the case of God, we are encouraged to trust in His ability and willingness to care for His own. When we worry we might think, “Why did you allow this to happen?” or “Where are you, God?” Instead, we need to trust Him in the midst of our troubles.
Our long-term future is secure. He is preparing a place for us! Our worries, our troubles, our confusion is short-term. The big picture is that we are secure in our future. If we can focus on this certainty, our worries will diminish dramatically.
Later in John 14:15-17 Jesus reveals a third help for worry: the Holy Spirit. We are not alone; we have been given a Helper to lean on during troublesome times. Go to Him; ask His help, His comfort, His calmness.
So what will it be? Every moment in our life we choose to focus on one of five things. All of them are real; we can’t ignore them. But only one should be our focus.
So when confronted by worry, turn your attention to the power of God and ask Him to take control of you and “Let not your hearts be troubled.”