Summary: God delivers his people from anxiety through faith in the work of his Son.
My uncle had cancer surgery Friday. The prognosis is not good; the disease has spread.
Since I cannot receive any Social Security or Medicare, I have a retirement account. So far this year, it has lost $7,204.55, 30% of its value.
This week a pastor sent me this note about what was going on in his life: “I lost hearing in my right ear three weeks ago (and gained a constant ringing). Two week ago, an ear specialist put me on steroids to see if there would be some healing. He said that I had an injured nerve. One of the side effects of the steroids is that it can lower your immune system and I have developed a small infection in my finger that seems to be spreading. So, tomorrow, I have to go to the doctor to have that looked at in the morning, and then in the afternoon, I meet with the ear specialist. I am guessing he will want me to have an MRI as there is a chance I have a benign tumor that is causing the problems. So, if you would pray. My spirits are good, and I trust God in all this. The hard thing for me is going to the doctors and taking the time to deal with this stuff.”
Trials and tribulations strike from coiled behind different rocks, but all can make us wonder if God is on the throne. They tempt us to doubt whether there is a designer with a good plan. They frighten us, make us anxious, trouble our hearts. We may not even want to trust God and keep our spirits up.
The men chosen by the Lord as his witnesses and the future leaders for the church are about to face great difficulties. Until now, when a problem arose, they went to Jesus. For example, when they could not heal a young boy, an argument developed and tempers rose. Then Jesus arrived and drove out the demon and healed the boy. Another time there was not enough food for everyone: “What do we do?” they asked. Then Jesus blessed the bread and miraculously fed the multitude.
But now he is leaving, and they are anxious: “To whom will we turn when troubles abound?” Earlier (in John 14.1), Jesus said: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” He returns to that theme in the paragraph we are reading this morning. [Read John 14.25-31. Pray.]
The letter read: “Dear Abby, I have found the secret to inner peace and I want to share it will all your readers. The secret is to finish the things you start. Today alone I finished two bags of potato chips, a chocolate pie, a bottle of wine and a box of candy. I feel better already.”
Though it may make you feel better, this is not what the Lord promises. But he does promise. In fact, peace is a promised effect, or result, of knowing God and having him truly working in our lives. Galatians 5.22: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”