Christmas is a magical time of year. Twinkling lights, dustings of snow, precious time with family and friends, and most importantly the opportunity to celebrate the very roots of God’s Kingdom coming to earth for the first time; Jesus’ birth.
Caseworker! That is my job title. Sometimes I laugh when I have to explain to other people what exactly it means.
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Our family had intentionally gone to church early that morning so we could head out into the beautiful Colorado Mountains and explore what God had for us.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled…” That’s all the words my mind could consume before the pastor’s voice trailed off into the wilderness of my brain.
Do not let your hearts be troubled? Seriously? Of course there is much trouble in my mind and heart! In fact, just that morning I received a text that my great nephew was in a serious car accident and was airlifted to a children’s hospital with no word of his condition! Two weeks before I had received an unsettling medical diagnosis. My mind raced with trouble! And, as I looked around the room at my friends and co-workers, knowing some of their stories and life circumstances, how could their hearts NOT be troubled as well? In fact, isn’t life intrinsically “trouble?” How can we possibly not have our hearts, or our minds, and our whole bodies consumed by the troubles we experience? The words of John 14:1 continued to run over and over in my head – “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
The pastor’s voice continued in the background as my mind raced through a list of disheartening troubles I had already experienced in my life. Infertility, a near tragic car accident, death of a precious nephew, a dear friend lost to cancer, the loss of a significant relationship… the list goes on! But then I remembered something. Amid each of the circumstances, be it short or long, somewhere along the journey, there was an unearthly peace that settled my heart and calmed my fears. With chaos all around I would cry out to God, petition for his mercy and guidance, and at some point, my fears calmed, my heart found peace and I found the strength to walk through the storm and eventually back into a state of calm.
The pastor started reading the passage again, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” The passage continues, “Believe in God, also believe in me.” At that moment I remembered the faithfulness of God through all my troubles in the past. The promise that he is always with me even during the darkest storm. Even if I don’t see or feel it, the reality is that God promises that I will never be alone!
As I sat with my eyes closed trying to digest this latest thought, my gaze drew upward, and my thoughts were lifted high above the table where we sat. The building and the city looked smaller and smaller by the second. Just like a spaceship lifting off from the planet surface and heading into the unknown I imagined seeing the earth from a higher and higher vantage point until the earth was just a speck fading from view. The further I traveled into the heavens the clearer the beauty and vastness of the universe became. I was no longer in the midst of my trouble. I had changed my perspective from being overwhelmed by troubles to a place where I could see God’s glory and majesty through His vast and incredible creation.
My Father called the universe into being with one single command. How amazing is that? My Father hand-crafted me in my mother’s womb, and as a loving parent allows both joys and troubles into my life to grow me into the person, He created me to be. My Father looks at every story from the eternal perspective, not just the temporal. In a world in the midst of trouble, my Father allows me to experience just enough so that I can be a light to others in the midst of their troubles as well.
Back here on earth, my mental journey gave me the fresh perspective I needed to remind me that when trouble is consuming me, I need simply to look up and to, “…believe in God. Believe also in me.” Jesus’ words are as real and powerful today as the day he spoke them. And not that we will ever know what the lessons are for our troubles, but sometimes God gives us a tiny glimpse to see a former trouble become the driving force we need to change our life and the lives of others!
Today, if you have trouble, I encourage you to stop, breath deep, look up and see your life from God’s vantage point. He created you. He loves you. He is with you. And He has a plan to use your trouble to change you and to change the world!
Hope’s Promise Development Specialist
One little boy, Mark, was abandoned on the streets of the Huruma slum in Kenya at only three years old. He was left with nothing: no home, no food, no hope, and no future. Another young boy centuries before was on a hillside surrounded by a massive crowd of hungry people.