Believe In God
Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” John 14:1-3.
Few of us live in secluded areas where there isn't any crime. Trouble surrounds us. School shootings, natural catastrophes, rape, murder, abortion, drug abuse; trouble is everywhere, if we want to take notice. It strikes fear at night, and it haunts our dreams; if we are involved.
Jesus steps onto the scene, a troubled time for the Israelites, and tells his disciples not to let their hearts be troubled. “In the world you will have trouble, but I have over come the world” (John 16:33). Easier said than done when you are faced with real problems, people trying to hurt you, or your family is explosive, few people will even talk to you, or your friends have packed up and moved away. But the remedy to the trouble is not advice or counseling, but God himself. The catalyst for healing is our faith in Jesus, and a promise of hope.
The answer is a place in God’s presence, and the promise of a room in his house. Can you imagine being invited to the White House for dinner? All the fancy table wear, a full staff to serve you, and the special clothes. I would be dumb struck. The honor and privilege to be in the president’s home. But, what if at dinner he stood up and called you by name. “Andrew, I’m aware of your hard life, but I want you to know that I have prepared a room for you next to my son’s. You are part of the family.” It would be unbelievable.
This is exactly what God has promised us. He has prepared a room next to His Son’s. We have nothing to worry about, ever again. The book of Revelation says, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9). Are you blessed? Do you belong to the family of God? If you do, you have no more troubles, because your future is secure. If you don't, all you need to do is trust in Jesus’ act of love and power.
The promise, however, is future. Until he returns, or calls us home, we are responsible for living out our faith in such away that people see our good works and give glory to God. Our purpose is to see new believers become fully devoted followers of Jesus, who in turn Disciple others. Why? Because we know the future, and the outcome of a troubled world. Therefore, we watch for his return, but keep focused on the work he has called us to do, even though it seems so long. It has been over 2000 years already. But be encouraged, the Apostle Peter wrote,
- But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:8,9.
I love this verse because it puts things into proper perspective. We look at life from our own vantage point, while God looks at it from an eternal perspective. Time is of no consequence to Him, whether one day or a thousand. But, there is a reason for his tardiness. It is for the sake of the perishing. There are still people who will come to faith, so we need to be patient. Peter continues,
- But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter3:10-13.
In order for our future home to be realized, Jesus has to return and bring judgment on those who have not believed. In order to make room for our new home he will destroy this creation. It will be judged and cleansed with fire. The result will be a new heaven and earth, one where sin and death no longer exist. But there is a caveat. We need to reach out to people now and live lives of holiness and godliness.
Living faithful lives for God now is the price we pay for a beautiful heavenly home in the future. So, what does living a holy life in a troubled world look like? It's about good character, trust, and faith. It's about loving your neighbors, doing good to those who persecute you, and forgiving just as God, in Christ forgave us.
We are also called to live in community, which in our culture, especially the church, isn't as easy as we think. Most churches call themselves a community, but after their Sunday morning activities they scamper home and huddle around their own activities. Living in community is much bigger than we can ever imagine. The rewards are great if we are able to live and persevere through the hard times.
Troubles come and go, but God is eternal. We may face trouble or we may live a life free of the world’s care. Either way we have this great promise of living with the Father. Through the strength of the Holy Spirit we can remain faithful every day.
There are days that I begin to lose heart. The weight of ministry, the difficulties of keeping a body of believers together, feels heavy on my shoulders. It would be easy to give up, to walk away and live like the world. But God has called me to something greater. I am part of His plan to disciple people. He has given me everything spiritual blessing that I need for today. And He has given a promise to live in his house in the future. All because of what Jesus did. Now if that doesn't change everything, I don’t know what does.