Do not let your hearts be troubled. That is how John 14 starts. Friends, sometimes it is so easy to let our minds be hurt by the world. We worry. We stew. We formulate ways we would have handled situations better. I have a really bad way of letting things get to me. Add to that that I have been clinically diagnosed with depression and it can be hard to stay afloat. My reaction to big events that upset me is to go have a nap because when I'm sleeping I don't have to think about what's bothering me. It's actually a symptom of depression. Some people choose to drink their problems away, I just sleep. Neither one of these options is following the command in verse 1. If you think about it, it is a command. Don't let things of the world trouble your hearts. Believe in God, believe in Jesus. Cast your cares at the foot of the cross.
This is also the chapter in John where Jesus makes the statement I am the way, the truth and the life (v. 6). Yet even after saying all that he's still met with unbelief. Show us the father, says Philip. We need another miracle, we don't quite believe just yet (opinion, not fact). Do something more for our benefit so that we can see unbelievable things. Isn't that just like us? I know I have this problem. It's like "Ok God, you did a great thing back there, but if you could just do some more, that'd be great." God isn't at our beck and call though and he shouldn't be. What He does is amazing. Look around you and see all the wonderful miracles. For me, it was calling me back, taming my potty mouth and so many other events both before and after he called me. My husband often shares the story of how when we met he had this "just wait and see" feeling about me. (I was an atheist.) Seven years later I did a complete about face. It was nothing short of a "God thing" because there's no way I could have done that on my own.
One of the verses that I really liked was You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it (v. 14). I don't take this as an invitation to ask for everything. I think it's cool that Jesus intercedes for us with God. When we ask in his name it's like adding that final bam to our prayer. Thanks God for all you do, please bless so and so, please do this, please do that - In the name of Jesus. Boom! Amen, so be it. Jesus cares about what occupies our hearts. Maybe it's a mission trip to another country, or help in your own home with your kids. Jesus sees it all and he knows what your heart song is. All you have to do is ask in his name. Now don't get me wrong. We may ask, but the answer may be no or not now. I think that God wants us in certain places before granting our prayers. Diamonds need pressure to materialize. Sand needs heat to become glass. We need shaping to become more like Jesus and isn't that what we, as Christians, are really striving for?
The last part of John 14 is speaking about the Holy Spirit. I think it's interesting that Jesus actually references the fact that the world doesn't know the Holy Spirit. It makes sense doesn't it? A lot of people don't understand how followers of Jesus can withstand some trials and still have hope. Sometimes people come to Jesus because they see something in their friend and they want it. I want to be the type of person that's like that. I want people to look at me and think - I want what she has. That doesn't mean losing myself completely, just smoothing some of the rough parts. The Holy Spirit is in us to convict us. Have you every experienced that? Sometimes it's like a punch in the gut. Sometimes it's bringing someone from your past back into your life so that you can process bad emotions and offer forgiveness.
That happened to me. When I was 12 my grandfather's best friend "noticed" me. One evening at their house my grandfather left the room and his friend saw the opportunity and took it. It didn't last long, but I was violated and I knew what happened was wrong. Fast forward about 16=17 years and I walked into my church and right into the same man. He was over 90 years old now, but for me, the time hadn't passed. The emotions were still there and still raw. I went straight to my pastor with what had happened. Not just for me, for the young girls of the church. I didn't want this man to have the opportunity with them that he'd had with me. My pastor told me I had 2 choices; I could forgive as Jesus forgave me which would be great. Or I could not offer forgiveness, which was completely acceptable given what happened between us. After 8 months I went to see the man, with my pastor at my side, and offered him forgiveness. Not only that, I had made a forgiveness shawl especially for him as a token of my forgiveness. The next night he called my pastor to come back to see him and recommitted himself to Jesus. The man passed away a few months ago. I'm so happy I had the opportunity to offer my forgiveness.
God has a way of working everything in our life for His glory. Even the bad things. That's when God is truly glorified.
How has the Holy Spirit worked in your life lately? What did you think of John 14 - any favourite passages? Share them in the comments.
You know the saying, the grass is always greener on the other side? This is my attempt to find greener grass right where I am in my life.
BTW - I'm the one on the right, just in case you didn't already know that.