“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God.” John 14:1
I saw an old friend yesterday, an acquaintance really! I was coming out of the café with another friend and I could see this woman wanted to hug me. I hadn’t seen her in years; we were never close. She was just another mum from school when my girls were small, back when Jack was a toddler. She had boys, I had girls and I don’t ever remember hanging out. In spite of this, she wanted to hug me; I could see it in her eyes.
So when my friend left I hugged the almost stranger and, looking me in the eye, she started to cry as she asked, “How’s your daughter?” Somehow, though they live in Queensland now, she had heard about my daughter. “I got out the old photo albums,” she said, “and I searched for her face amongst the class photos and wept.” I could see that what she was telling me was true. Her compassion was so genuine it astounded me, such kindness from a stranger! I reassured her that Sam was doing well and explained how far we have come, that we were getting back on our feet and moving on with life.
“How do you move on?” she asked me. “What comes next?” She told me sometimes she doesn’t even know what to do next and they’ve not had our kind of trouble.
What do you do when you’ve suffered loss, your marriage has failed or when things don’t work out in your job? We get stuck sometimes don’t we? After all the activity of life whirls over us, suddenly we are standing still with nothing to do. We get up in the morning and think, “Okay, so now what?”
In John 14, Jesus told his disciples He was going to prepare a place for them. I’ve heard this before! Sometimes it makes me mad. I don’t want to hear about the future or what I’ve got to look forward to. I want to know what to do now. It seems we spend all our life waiting, thinking about the future and hoping that our big break will come. We figure all the hard stuff we go through is preparation for this and that somehow all our struggles have made us great and now we have stories to tell. The truth is we have no idea what comes next. I’m so thankful for Thomas for saying it how it is. “Lord, we don’t know where you are going so how can we know the way?”
Like Thomas, I’ve got no idea about tomorrow; all I know is Jesus is with me now. He was with me yesterday. He was there when no one came. He was there when not even the medical staff responded after I pressed the emergency buzzers behind the hospital bed. Somehow in the season of yesterday He showed me that I knew what to do. Mostly He isn’t preparing us for our future or some grand moment when we arrive in some fictitious place in our imagination – and it’s just as well. The truth is we don’t know what we want. We think we want a bigger house or a new car or an overseas trip.
Phillip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough.” It’s never enough though is it! As soon as we get the thing we always thought we wanted, we would want something else.
I don’t know what comes next but as I told my old acquaintance, I’m learning to live in the moment – to embrace each day. Jesus is an ‘in the moment’ kind of God. He says, “I am the way, and the truth and the life.” It is in present tense because it’s for right now. So my way of seeing things is that I should simply do what I know how to do and all the pieces for this day will be there. Jesus tells us to do what we see Him doing; just copy and you will do great things.
So I guess the trick is to see! To do that you need to remove all the things that restrain you: the limiters, the mindsets, glass ceilings, anything that holds you back. You must remember that you are not alone; Jesus promised not to leave us as orphans and if we listen He coaches us through. The truth is you are more capable than you think. Why did you settle for so little? Why are you still waiting for permission to do the things you always wanted to do? Do you think you need a man to validate you, or a university degree or to drive a better car? These things are wonderful and helpful, but maybe waiting for them is just an excuse.
Judas asked Jesus, “Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not the whole world?” Maybe Judas was waiting to hear Jesus tell him he was in the ‘in’ group and that made him worthy of success; but Jesus said, “Anyone who loves me…”
His love is great and wide and deep. When no one was there, it was His tears I felt on my shoulder, just as wet as the tears of this old acquaintance I happened to meet in the street. Jesus knows when we are stuck. He knew we would get distracted, discouraged and dismayed so He sent the Holy Spirit to remind us, telling us He “will teach you all things and will remind you of everything.”
So with that kind of backing, I figure we are equipped to move on. Consider yourself prepared.
All verses quoted in this piece are from John 14.