Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. John 14:1
I let my heart be troubled a lot. I get caught up in disagreements with friends, worries about work, and disturbing news in politics and world events. All sorts of events in my life send me into damage control mode. I fret, I complain, and, above all, I look for ways to fix the problems, large and small, that appear on my horizon. I build walls to keep out those who might hurt me, even though these same walls also keep out friends and loved ones. Far too often, I sacrifice the greatest joy for comfort, and the greatest freedom for safety.
I know that life can be more than this. When I get still and open my heart to Jesus, I sense a way opening before me. It’s a life of reckless hope and peace. It’s a choice to live in the love and power of God, trusting in others and in myself – not because people are trustworthy, but because God is.
Despite all the reasons to hold back, to defend myself from mistreatment and misunderstanding, there is a deeper invitation waiting for me, whenever I am ready to embrace it. I can choose to see the ways God is at work in each and all of us, despite our stubbornness and selfishness, ignorance and fear. I can embrace the living hope that Christ is at work in the midst of the most terrible situations, and that love will find a way, even in the presence of hatred.
This doesn’t mean everything turns out all right. We all make our own choices, and they are often hurtful ones. Yet, as I learn to trust in Jesus and the Holy Spirit that fills the world with his presence, I can begin to let go of the need to protect myself from the endless ways that it could all go wrong. Walking with him, he shows me a way of living that is rooted in love, trust and compassion for others.
So when I read the latest sad story in the newspaper, or experience a difficult interaction with folks in my community, my heart doesn’t have to be troubled. Believing in God, I can also believe in you, my friends. I can dwell deep in the knowledge that the power of the Lord is over all, and in all, and through all. I can rest in the fact that the Lord goes ahead of me into battle, and that I do not have to fight anyone or anything; I only have to love, listen, and be ready for faithful response to the way Christ leads.
This is the love that casts out all fear, and this is the love that lays down its life for friends. This is the right knowledge of good and evil, the choice to allow God to remain in control of outcomes. When I let God be God, I am free to be fully human at last.