How Jesus Comforts Us in Troubling Times
Have you ever found yourself troubled in life? Sure you have; we all have! As Jesus gathered with His disciples on the night before His crucifixion, He knew they were already “troubled” and that they would experience extreme anxiety in the days ahead. So as He spoke with them, He began to comfort them… 1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. John 14:1a. And the great news is, He comforts us in the same way when we are troubled in life. In John 14-15, we discover Four Ways Jesus Comforts Us in Troubling Times.
1) Jesus doesn't abandon you… He wants you to trust in His plan and purpose! (John 14:1-4)
Jesus’ disciples are already facing some serious trouble in their lives. Jesus knows that they can confront it head on; do you know how? By trusting fully in God’s power and purpose in all things! That’s why He says, “You believe in God; believe also in me.” That means “You trust God, trust in me!” There is purpose in what lies ahead, even if and when you can’t see it or when it doesn’t make sense to you.
I’ve lived enough life to have walked through some dark, troubling seasons in life; how ‘bout you? How do you get through those seasons? The way I’ve gotten through them is with an unwavering trust that God is in control. Whether you believe God caused it, or allowed it to happen, He is still in control! I have no doubt about that. As a result, I have a calm confidence in His power and His purpose. And you can too. My trust in Him sustains me; it fuels me; it inspires me. And when you place your complete trust in Him, the same will happen for you.
That is exactly what Jesus wanted His disciples to know and experience that night and in the troubling days ahead. There is no doubt that Jesus’ disciples were uncomfortable with the things He was doing and saying. But Jesus knew they would find comfort when they fully trusted Him. He wasn’t going to abandon them; in fact, He was going to prepare a place for them. Everything that was about to happen - things that would trouble them, like His suffering and death on the cross - was for a specific purpose. It was all part of God’s plan to prepare a place for them and for us!
2) Jesus doesn’t just point to the way… He is the way! (John 14:5-7)
Have you ever been traveling and gotten lost? That is a hopeless, helpless feeling, isn’t it? These days, we can just type in an address or location on our smart phone and we get multiple directional options instantly. I’m old enough to remember a time before smart phones when we used MapQuest to print directions and even paper maps before that.
Thomas and his fellow disciples were looking for direction from Jesus. They wanted some clarity from Jesus about where He was going and how they could get there. They didn’t want to be lost! Who does? Being lost is unsettling, uncomfortable, troubling. So Jesus makes sure that His disciples, and that we, are crystal clear regarding “the way”. 6 …“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Jesus is not a way; He doesn’t point to the way; He doesn’t suggest a way; He is the way. When you are lost, far from God and hope to find your way to Him, there is only one path or way to take. Unlike your maps app, which may offer you a few routes to your destination, Jesus makes clear there is only one way to the Father. It is through Him and only Him.
There are some who would say this is scandalous, unfair, unsympathetic. And it absolutely would be, if Jesus hadn't made this message available to everyone! But this is no secret. Jesus never said to keep this under wraps, to keep it quiet, to make it exclusive for only certain people. Jesus wants everyone to know this truth; it is Good News for all the world to hear! (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8)
Being physically lost is troubling; but there is nothing more troubling than being spiritually lost. The great news is, when we are spiritually lost, Jesus shows us the way!
3) Jesus doesn’t expect you to fend for yourself… He provides a helper for you! (John 14:15-17;25-26)
When I turned 16, my parents helped me buy the car I had dreamed about owning one day… a 1976 Ford Mustang Cobra II. ‘Sounds cooler than it is; it is really a glorified Pinto. But I loved it! I just couldn’t drive it because it was a manual shift so my dad had to teach me. It took some serious coaching from him, but I finally got it. (Listen to the message online to hear about my first big test.)
Jesus knew that His disciples were going to need some help, some coaching in the troubling days ahead; they would face far more stress than trying to drive a stick shift. But Jesus wasn’t about to have them go it alone or fend for themselves. He promised an Advocate… the Holy Spirit to help them, to teach them, to remind them of everything He had taught them.
Like my dad was there that day to remind me, to comfort me when I was nervous about driving that car early on, the Holy Spirit would be with them, and now with you and me, as Believers. The truth is, there will be moments in your life when you are unsure, uncertain, and afraid. Maybe you are there right now. Jesus offers us the same comfort He offered His disciples, the promise of His Holy Spirit living in us and the peace that only comes through Him. (John 14:27)
For much more, including the fourth way Jesus comforts us in troubling times… how to not just survive, but to thrive in life… click here to listen to Light in the Darkness - Part 13 - How Jesus Comforts Us in Troubling Times.