Don’t know that it happens frequently, but certainly it happens regularly. I wake in the night and rather than just going back to sleep, my mind starts to race. And it’s not a good race. It’s usually a chaotic stream of consciousness that starts with one worry who then invites all his friends. Things not done that need to get done. Things I feel I need to get a handle on that are really out of my control. Things in the past that I perhaps regret. Things in the future that I can’t predict. And not only does the mind race, but the chest gets heavy. Panic wouldn’t be the right word to describe it, but “overwhelmed” is probably pretty close. Usually I end up in prayer and usually I eventually fall back to sleep. This morning, as I read John 14, there’s a word that seems to capture these night time adventures pretty well . . . troubled.
Troubled. As in agitated, disquieted, restless, or anxious. An inward commotion which removes calmness of mind. Stirred up. Distressed.
And twice in John 14 Jesus says to His disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled” (14:1, 27).
Jesus’ hour had come. The cross neared and His departure was at hand. And Jesus anticipates the disquieting of the disciples’ souls and the inward commotion that would be their’s. Not only during the next three days as they lived through His death and then experienced His resurrection. But throughout their entire lives as, in addition to just dealing with the “normal stuff,” they are called to build His church and be ambassadors for His kingdom. There’s a lot to stay awake at night about for His followers, and so He says, “Don’t let this throw you” (MSG).
Don’t be agitated, says Jesus, because I’m coming back (14:1-3). Don’t settle for turbulence, He says again, because I’m not leaving you alone, I’m sending the Holy Spirit (14:16, 26).
Talk about truths to calm the disquieted soul. Whatever is, is temporary. And whatever I need to do, I’m not left to just myself to do it.
What I need to get done, I can through the power of the Spirit within me. What’s out of my control, is in the hand of the Sovereign One over me. The regrets of the past are covered by the blood. The unknown of the future has been charted by Him who has ordained my days. In fact, navigating this life really isn’t up to me. I have been crucified with Christ and it’s no longer I who live. Rather, Christ, through His Spirit, lives in me such that “the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
He loved me. He gave Himself for me. He’s sealed me with His Spirit. And He’s coming for me.
Be gone troubled hearted. Be calm disquieted soul. Jesus is with you through His Spirit. And you will be with Him because of His promise.
No wonder the Master says to His disciples,
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27 ESV)
All because of grace . . . all for His glory.