Scripture Reading: John 14:1-4: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
I must admit that I just can’t help but read the comments that people post, on each news story, in the Athens online newspaper. Many of the comments are better than the actual news story. Often though, the comments are mean and hateful because people tend to say whatever comes to mind when their comments remain anonymous.
Last week as I was reading a news story that contained religious aspects, I read something that really troubled me. A person commented on this particular story by saying that Christians are “wasting their time praying to the invisible man in the sky.” I’m still not certain on what level this comment bothered me. I realize that people often make comments like this just to get other people stirred up and angry. Then what follows is a back and forth between those attacking the faith and those trying to defend it.
I wondered if this person had an agenda of trying to put doubts in the minds of believers or those struggling to come to terms with their belief in God. It could be that this person had been praying to God for a long time and his/her prayer was never answered and now this person is angry at God and everybody else. It was also possible, I thought, that this person had visited a local church recently and had not had a good experience. Whatever the background of this person was, I guess that what really disappointed me was that I know how much God means in my life and I would hope that this man or woman could experience that same feeling.
Jesus encourages us in our scripture reading today to “not let our hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” It’s fairly easy for me to say that I trust in God and also in Jesus. My life had been filled with many challenges and many ups and downs. However, I have always felt the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in my life and I know that there is a visible God in heaven who watches over us and who loves each and every one of us. Looking back over my forty-seven years I can see and begin to understand how God has shaped my life and how He continues to do so.
Even though I have not physically seen God, I can tell you with certainty that He exists. I feel His presence in my life on a daily basis. I trust in God and in God’s word and I believe Jesus when He tells us that He is preparing a place for all who believe in Him as their personal savior.
I pray that each of us as believers can begin to impact the lives of non-believers in a positive way. We must be loving and compassionate to others that God places in our path. When we open up our hearts and our lives to those around us that are struggling with faith in God, we begin to help them visualize God here on this earth. By caring for and helping those around us that are less fortunate, we are becoming the hands and feet of Christ in this fallen and broken world. And with God’s help we can turn disbelief into belief and help those who do not believe to begin to encounter a visible God among obedient and faithful believers here on this earth.
It doesn’t take much to allow our heart or our mind to be troubled in this world that we live in. Jesus is encouraging us to fix our eyes and our hearts upon heaven, where there will be no more suffering and no more pain. We will live in eternal happiness with God, our creator, redeemer and sustainer and we will finally be complete. Knowing what awaits me in heaven gets me through many difficult and trying days. Trusting in God gives me the strength to continue on with the promise that I will one day reside with Christ in heaven.