Let not your hearts be troubled.
The Lord is telling us we each have some control over the amount of worry we allow into our hearts. “Let not” means that we may choose not to be upset when problems arise. Not every event that troubles others must completely destroy our peace. We may take the burdens and concerns of life before the Lord in prayer and in trust leave them there.
In today’s world where everything is instantly available, we may think that our faith should be instant as well. That is not a bad goal to have in life, constantly instant faith, but when we are caught off guard by unexpected problems, if we think we should have instant faith, we might unwittingly deny ourselves the need and time to mentally and emotionally process our feelings. To refuse to admit our struggles can result in our emotions going “underground” in our souls, hiding out in our hearts only to surface unexpectedly at other times and in unrelated situations. For example, if our loved one is in the hospital we may explode in anger at a nurse over something insignificant, while we profess to be in “perfect peace” with God. Beware of the smug Christian who in the face of personal tragedy denies himself the right to grieve in the name of “faith.” The scripture says that we do not grieve like the rest of men who have no hope; it does not say that we do not grieve (1 Thess. 4:13). Even Paul admitted that the death of Epaphroditus would have brought him “sorrow upon sorrow” (Phil. 2:27).
Trusting the Lord amid the troubles of life often requires some time to recover from the shock of the news, or to get our minds and hearts around a problem that continues to develop over time. There is a process that we will go through in grasping the seriousness of some situations, and then learning to leave these matters with God. The process of growing in trust through sorrow and potential problems is not so much like switching on an electric light of faith as it is taking a walk down a long and winding path. There will be ups and downs, hills and valleys, times when we can see ahead a bit and other times when we hardly know what will happen the next second. There will be moments of victory and periods of struggles, but if we keep walking in faith, if we do not get too far ahead in the journey from the real events of each day, the Lord will give us the peace we need day by day.
I love the hymn, Be Still My Soul, (see below) and especially the line, “Leave to thy God to order and provide.” This is what each day calls for – to leave the uncertainties of life into the hands of the One of whom we can be certain – God!
Lord, teach us to trust you daily through the journey of life with its challenges and concerns, sorrows and joys. Amen.
Be Still, My Soul
Translated from the German by Jane Borthwick, 1855
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to joyful end.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.
Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed, we shall meet at last.
Stille, mein Wille
Geschrieben von Katharina von Schlegel, 1752
Stille, mein Wille! Dein Jesus hilft siegen;
Trage geduldig das Leiden, die Not;
Gott ist’s, der alles zum Besten will fügen,
Der dir getreu bleibt in Schmerzen und Tod.
Stille, mein Wille! Dein Jesus wird machen
Glücklichen Ausgang bedenklicher Sachen.
Stille, mein Wille! Der Herr hat’s in Händen;
Hält sich dein Herz nur im Glauben an ihn,
Wird er den Kummer bald wenden und enden;
Herrlich wird endlich, was wunderbar schien.
Stille, mein Wille! Dein Heiland wird zeigen,
Wie vor ihm Meer und Gewitter muß schweigen.
Stille, mein Wille! Wenn Freunde sich trennen,
Die du so zärtlich und innig geliebt,
Wirst du die Freundschaft des Höchsten erkennen,
Der sich zum Eigentum treulich dir gibt.
Stille, mein Wille! Dein Jesus ersetzet,
Was dich beim Sterben der Liebsten verletzet.
Stille, mein Wille! Es kommen die Stunden,
Daß wir beim Herrn sind ohn’ Wechsel der Zeit;
Dann ist das Scheiden, der Kummer verschwunden,
Ewige Freundschaft vergütet das Leid.
Stille, mein Wille! Nach zeitlichem Scheiden
Sehn wir uns wieder ohn’ Schmerzen und Leiden.