Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-3 NRSV)
Jesus offers words of hope and encouragement to his friends at a time in their lives when they are, to say the least, somewhat bewildered about what the future may hold for them.
He is preparing himself for the dreadful ordeal of the cross, and he knows that he must travel this journey alone. They cannot follow him: not yet anyway. For the moment they will be helpless spectators.
There are times when most of us have felt like helpless spectators of events, especially at the time of the illness or even death of someone who is precious to us. We want it to stop. We want to put the clock back. We want somebody to do something! Our hearts are deeply troubled.
And Jesus offers us those same words of hope: “In my father’s house there is a place for everyone, and I’m going to get it ready for you.”
He just asks one thing of us: that we continue to believe; not so that we can be members of some special holy club, but so that we can see something of the bigger picture in the midst of our anguish; so that our hearts will be less troubled.
This is what Christians mean when they talk about “hope.” It’s not a matter of wishful thinking (as in “oh, I hope things will turn out for the best.”). No, true hope is about trusting in those things which we know to be true, but do not yet see accomplished.
True hope means trusting in the promises of Jesus, especially when life seems to be demanding that we don’t.
I hear your words of hope,
but sometimes I struggle to understand
that you intend them for me.
especially when my heart is troubled,
to trust in your promises for me.