Trusting in Trying Times

At any other time, we might have been thinking ourselves fortunate to have had such a lovely Spring. We have enjoyed some fine, sunny, dry and pleasant Spring weather.

According to reports from the Met Office, the month of April was one of the best on record.

This year, however, it’s not the good weather that Spring 2020 will be remembered for; it will be remembered as the Spring when so much stopped.

From anticipating the good things that we may have planned to do, we’ve gone to just ‘marking time’ this Spring, staying safe and mostly indoors.

We are longing for the time when we can get together again, longing for this pandemic to be over, longing for this time of lockdown and restrictions to end.

In our reading for today (John 14:1-14) the Disciples were no doubt longing for better times.

Jesus has just shared the Last Supper with them in the Upper Room. Judas has left and gone to betray Him. Jesus has told Peter he will deny and disown Him. Arrest, trial and, ultimately the cross, are looming.

Shortly, the world of the remaining disciples was about to collapse into unbelievable chaos and fear. They will lose hope and lock themselves away for safety.

They knew that Jesus never promised them an easy time, but they never saw this coming. So, to encourage them, he responds to their fears and anxieties and says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. (14: 1)

He calls them back to this fundamental relationship of trust; to put their faith in Him and their hand in His.

He assures them that he is not abandoning them. Rather, he is returning to his Father, which is good news for them because he assures them that this is also their eventual destination

“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.” (14:2, 3)

They too, will live with him, they will share with him in His loving, close relationship with the Father.

As the Disciples’ world was turned upside down, this Spring, we too are experiencing just such an upheaval.

It is at this very time we can take hold of these words of Jesus with confidence, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me”. Trust me he says.

He loves us, supports us, hold us up, not only in this life but in the life to come. He holds onto us through time itself. In the words of the great hymn by George Mathieson, “O love that wilt not let me go”.

Jesus’ loves extends to eternity. We are invited to live with him in his Father’s house. Not as a guest, but as family.

But this message of Jesus is about more than a future life. This message has everything to do with our life here and now, and our relationship with God today.

In this passage that John records, terrible times were to follow, and for a time, the Disciples were distraught. But through trusting Jesus’ words, they emerged on the other side of the Crucifixion.

By the Resurrection they saw for themselves that Jesus is the life that can never die. That is who we are putting our faith in. That is who we are trusting. He defeated death itself.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me”. This is a message we so need to hear and take hold of today.

We can trust Him with our living; with our life, here and now on this earth and with the life to come. We can trust him for eternity.

He calls on us to trust in God the Father and in himself; to continue putting our faith in Him and our hand in His. Let’s do it.

Let us pray,

Loving Lord,

You know and understand that at times it can be difficult for us to look forward in hope and face the future. We don’t always see the way ahead clearly.

Instead, we can flounder around, our vison of You obscured by worry, concern and even fears. We get confused by what we hear and read of what happens next as our world negotiates its way through this difficult health situation.

We need your help. We need your guidance. And so, we pray Jesus that you show us your way through these bewildering and unsettling times and open our eyes to your presence.

As you stretch out your hand to us, let us take it to lead us forward, together with you. Faithful Lord, we trust you with our lives, knowing that we are safe in your hands. Amen.

And so, let us go forward, hand in hand with Christ Jesus, guiding, guarding and loving us.