“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. 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, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)
This is my favorite verse to turn to in times of trial and distress of any sort. Here the Lord reassures us that though he has returned to the Father and we cannot see him face to face and feel his physical touch of comfort, he is preparing a place for us, his bride, to dwell in, and he will return again and receive us as his own forever. No matter how hard and dark and cold and lonely the night is here on Earth, in Heaven, we have a warm place called home and we can always call home and talk to our Father and our Brother and be loved and welcomed and encouraged and strengthened and made whole where it matters most.
Older translations of this text render “rooms” as “mansions” while we can dispute which is more accurate and which is more desirable, the epistles suggest God is preparing not merely a literal dwelling place for us in Heaven, but a brand new body as well. God’s standards are strict, and we cannot hope to obtain to them on our own, but he is making preparations to transfer us from our old broken bodies of sin (spiritual corruption) and physical corruption to pure, spotless, incorruptible bodies, to transform us from sinners into saints.
Let us not lose heart then as we battle against sin within ourselves and to resist the external pressures of the corrupt world around us. No matter how many times we stumble and fall, so long as we continue to choose Jesus and trust him as both our Savior and our Lord, we stand secure, because He will never change His unfailing love for us. He will never abandon us nor forsake us, nor will he ask from us more than we are capable of or more than he is willing to equip us to do.
So many of us when our hearts are troubled turn to our friends and family. Some of us are fortunate enough to have strong loved ones who are full to overflowing and have plenty to give us and meet our needs. Others among us are surrounded by friends and family as every bit as troubled as we are and often are also running on empty. For those in this situation, leaning upon one another spreads the pain around like a game of hot potato being played with toxic waste.
Christ urges us this day to stop a cycle that tends to compound and multiply our troubles and bring our broken hearts to Him. The Lord is the ultimate source of the spiritual and emotional fuel we require to live and thrive, and He is the only true source of healing, and only He can take the toxic waste, nail it to His cross, and truly remove it from us and those around us once and for all.
Lord, open our eyes. Draw our attention to the times when our hearts are troubled. When we are tempted to unload the toxic waste building up in our fallen hearts on our loved ones, remind us to stop and pray and surrender it to you instead. Show us also when our loved ones are seeking from us what comes from you and handing to us burdens that only you can carry. Give us the strength to refuse to participate in what amounts to idolatry and the courage to gently, respectfully, and lovingly, yet firmly point them to you and offer to pray with them instead. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.