If we follow and remain faithful to Him, our troubles will end, and we will live in the bosom of the Father
By Deacon Bob Hunt
“Jesus said to His disciples: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me'”(John 14:1).
There are many troubles we face in the world along the course of our lives. Disappointments, disgraces, tragedies. The headlines we read every day point to the fact that this world is not an easy place in which to live, much less one where we could expect to be happy all the time.
There are blessings, of course. But there are also horrors, and in no short supply. Often, when we experience a trouble, even a significant one, such as a loved one involved in an accident or facing a debilitating illness, people are tempted to offer the trite line, “Everything’s going to be all right.” Well, no, not necessarily. Perhaps things will not be all right. Then, what am I to do?
It may sound like Jesus is offering just such a trite response to the realities of troubles. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” This would not be terribly comforting, if we forget that these words come from the King of kings and Lord of lords, and the Master of history. Jesus can actually offer us comfort, because He knows the whole story. He knows that everything will not necessarily be all right during our days here in this mortal coil. But He also promises eternal life, and He keeps His promises.
This is not to say that we should simply accept with resignation the troubles of this world. There is much we can do: fight for justice, lend a helping hand, provide what service and comfort we can to each other. But it does mean that our hope is not in this world or in the men and women who run it. No, our hope must be in Jesus. Ultimately, we all die, regardless of how happy or miserable our lives have been. There is no escaping the sufferings of this world, or the trouble that is death itself. Only in the promise of eternal life is there hope for eternal happiness. And only Jesus holds the promise of eternal life.
The unbeliever would complain that this is pie-in-the-sky religiosity. This is what is wrong with religion, he insists. Religion, Christianity in particular, offers comfort from suffering only in the world to come but not in this world. But this is not only contrary to Christian teaching and practice, it is ahistorical.
The Church has been at the forefront of every struggle for justice in history. While unbelievers accuse the Church of advocating slavery, and it is true that some Christians benefited from the institution, it is also true that slavery was never conquered except where Christians, lay and clergy, were battling to free men and women from such oppression.
Even today, the Church is deep in the struggle against human trafficking. The Church has built hospitals, schools, orphanages, clinics, refugee centers, housing for the homeless and elderly, adoption agencies, and so many other charitable institutions around the world that no other agency and most governments cannot compare to the work done by dedicated Christians against the ravages of this world. No pie-in-the-sky theology here! The Church has her hands thick in the work of relieving suffering and injustice as she awaits her Lord’s return in glory.
Ours is a Trinitarian faith. Jesus says no one comes to the Father except through Him. They, together, send the Holy Spirit to strengthen and nourish us in our journey toward the kingdom, when all our troubles will not only be over but also answered for. We will finally understand the meaning of it all. Our mission now is to understand that Jesus is Lord and that He has made His promise that, if we follow Him and remain faithful to Him, our troubles will end, and we will live forever in the bosom of the Father, sharing the very nature of God. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.”
People have asked for a health update. I am currently still suffering severe back pain from an infection in my spine. The doctors assure me that the pain will go away as the antibiotics clear the infection. I am looking forward to that day. Until then, my movements are limited. The pain is debilitating, but there are moments of relief, and I try to get up to walk for exercise. My family has been incredible in their support, as have many friends who check on me regularly and assure me of their continued prayers. I will be back.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.
Deacon Bob Hunt is a husband, father, grandfather, and parishioner at All Saints Church in Knoxville.