Psalm 1, 2, 3; PM Psalm 4, 7
Exod. 14:21-31; 1 Pet. 1:1-12; John 14:1-17
“Let not your hearts be troubled.” Jesus must have lived in Cloud-Cuckoo-Land, right? I mean, He didn’t have to deal with the anxieties of COVID-19 and raising a kid in a world of online predators and no prom and those crazy North Koreans and total economic meltdown and where is the mortgage payment gonna come from and….it was easier back then. Yeah, that’s it. It was easier. We need to worry. We have to be anxious. Heck, it’s our duty, our patriotic duty, our Christian obligation. Smart people, plugged-in people, are going to stay up at night. Right? Except, of course, that Jesus didn’t live in an easier world. Palestine had for generations been a constant battleground between Herodians and Romans and Parthians and Nabateans, with unstable and unpopular government, religious and ethnic hatreds aplenty, the constant threat of disease and famine, no money, no civil rights, no security for anyone. Rebellions. Earthquakes. Unsafe roads. Let’s not even talk about the state of 1st c medical knowledge. Yeah, Jesus lived in an easier world. Right.
Let not your hearts be troubled. Not because the world isn’t troubling–it has always been so, and will be for as long as there are days to number. No, let not your hearts be troubled because you have a promise that outweighs the moment’s real, pressing and painful crises. “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.” That, friends, is the promise. Not that life will be easy or safe or comfortable, but that life lived in Him will have a purpose (the Way leads to a goal worth getting to). That it will have integrity (the Truth is unswerving). That it will be living and not just surviving, even when survival is in question (Life!). Life in Christ is life worth living, not just breathing in and out. And life lived in anxiety, in fear, in troubled heart? Well, I think we all know what that feels like. Because we’ve all lived it, and we’re all being invited to bathe in those waters right now.
Don’t be stupid. Make reasonable adjustments to deal with a changing world. Stay in and stay well. Stock up ahead. Think about your new normal. Adjust. But while you’re not being stupid, work at least as hard at not being worried and anxious and troubled in heart and soul. Because worry is a choice, and it’s a choice that sucks life away from us at precisely the moment when we need to be investing in life more abundant, rather than draining our energies and focus into life more anxious.