Summary: This place (funeral home) has witnessed many a troubled heart! Jesus words offer a prescription for a troubled heart! This is the same cure for a troubled heart that can make a huge difference in our lives.
Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister
First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO
The Cure for Troubled Hearts
Jesus’ Words from John 14:1-6: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 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. You know the way to the place where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Introduction: Death is always an interruption. It never comes at a convenient time. We know it is inevitable. Just not now! Sometimes, we deny it altogether. We convince ourselves, even though we know better, that some how we will avoid having to deal with death this time. That is all wishful thinking. And we know it!
Even when we know it is close, as with an aged and infirmed loved one, death still has a way of sneaking up on us. One more day, one more conversation—then we will be ready, but just not yet! Death always comes that way.
It was that way for Jesus’ disciples. He had been preparing them for what was to come for months. More and more, he had warned them that the end was near. Maybe they didn’t hear. Maybe they didn’t want to. Finally, the last hour was upon them. These were among Jesus’ last words to them. These words about life and death were among his greatest gifts to them and us!
“Let not your hearts be troubled,” Jesus says. We all understand the “heart” as a figure of speech unlike the little boy. The kindergarten teacher was quizzing the class about the parts of the body. “Now, Johnny, where is your heart?” she asked. Johnny pointed to his bottom. “Why do you think that is your heart?” the teacher asked curiously. Johnny quickly replied, “Because Grandma always pats me there and says, “Bless your little heart.”
Heart refers to the seat of the emotions, our inner self, or even the center of the will. We speak of “a sinking heart,” “a broken heart,” or “a heavy heart” and we know exactly what we are talking about. The term for troubled literally meant “stirred up.” The same word was used in John 5:7 to speak of water that had been agitated. The same emotional term was used of Jesus in 13:21 where John says, “Jesus was troubled in spirit.” At the graveside of a friend, Jesus was “moved in spirit and deeply troubled” (11:33). When speaking of his impending death in 12:27, Jesus said, “Now my heart is troubled.”
You know what a troubled heart feels like, don’t you? It is heaviness deep inside. At other times, it can be like butterflies in your stomach or a tightness that makes you think you can’t breathe. You may have trouble sleeping; yet not have enough energy to do anything. It is a dull ache that defies description.
This place (funeral home) has witnessed many a troubled heart!
Jesus words offer a prescription for a troubled heart!
This is the same cure for a troubled heart that can make a huge difference in our lives. We may live two thousand years removed from this event, but we have the same access to what Jesus offered this little band of followers soon to be pushed to their limits. Hang on to this promise and you too can find peace in the storm whether at a funeral, in a hospital bed, preparing for a big challenge, or facing the temptation of your life. Followers of Jesus have stayed the course before because of this. They have faced disappointment, disease, and disaster and continued to live in confident conviction because of this. You can too!
Mary knew the cure for a troubled heart. She would want you to know it, too.
Troubled hearts, theirs and ours, need something to look forward to. Like pioneers crossing the plains, we need a landmark out ahead to march toward. Without a landmark, we may wander off course. We could travel in circles, returning again and again to the same problems without any relief. To change word pictures—it’s like the divers in a documentary I saw on TV some time ago. The divers were exploring underwater caves. The uncharted terrain was a maze of spectacular caverns, tight spaces, dead end passages, and endless dangers. Once deep inside the caverns, they could never find their way out were it not for the rope line wound through all of the twists and turns they had come through and back to the surface and safety above. Without that line that connected then with the world above, I am sure they would have found it difficult to endure, much less enjoy, the world below. Their hearts would have been so troubled by the dangers of their situation that they would not have accomplished anything of value below. But the line that led to the world above freed them in the world below.