Q. I’m writing to you today because my family is being hit so very hard by trial after trial, in literally every facet of our lives. Wave after wave hits us, and there is no sign of this letting up any time soon. We’re frustrated, tired, and honestly- troubled. I have been clinging to the peace that only Jesus can give, but when I read John 14:27 today, it was the second half of the verse that gave me pause. “Let not” and “neither let” imply that we have a choice in this when our hearts are troubled. Can you tell me how to not allow my heart to be troubled?
A. In John 14:27 Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” He was speaking to the disciples on the eve of His crucifixion. (Imagine that. He was comforting them the night before His execution.) His point was that we have a choice about what thoughts occupy our minds.
In Philippians 4:4-8 Paul spoke about this at length to believers who were going through severe persecution. First he said we should rejoice in all things. Then he repeated it for emphasis. No matter what our situation or circumstance we can rejoice in what the Lord has done for us. He said we’re not to be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, to present our requests to God. As a result we’ll receive the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. He finished by telling us to fill our minds with desirable thoughts, thoughts that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. We should focus on whatever is excellent or praiseworthy. He knew that by thinking about these things we’d be forcing thoughts about our trials out of our minds.
In 2 Cor. 4:18 he said we should fix our eyes not on what is seen, which is temporary, but on what is unseen, which is eternal. Christians have the unique privilege of staying focused on the future, because we know what is coming. We don’t have to be dragged down by the present, but can say, “This too shall pass.”