Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. My Father’s house has plenty of room; if that were not so, would I have told you that 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. John 14:1-3
“Do not let your hearts be troubled…” Easier said than done, right? Every day we find ourselves with a pile of things to trouble us. How can Jesus so easily and casually tell us not to be troubled? He says to just trust in God. Is that even fair to say in light of everything we have to contend with? It seems like over-simplification to me.
As I think about it though, I consider the words that follow this statement. Jesus is making a place for us. There’s plenty of room, so no one who wants in will be left out. Everyone can come. And not just come and we’ll find a place for you. No, Jesus says the whole reason he is leaving, the whole reason he had to ascend to the father, was to prepare a place for us. He is creating a place tailored to us.
What does this have to do with being troubled? Well, don’t you think a great deal of our troubled-ness comes from our deep desire to have a place?
Why is work so stressful sometimes? We’re trying to make sure we aren’t fired. We need to have a place. We don’t want our peers to reject us. We want to have a place with them. We want to be valued and accepted—this is really about having a place with others; as one of the people they value.
When you’re a parent, it’s the same. It’s difficult sometimes to lead our families because we are responsible for the state of that place. We are creating an environment. We want and need that place to be safe; for relationships to be real. For our family to feel secure in our home.
In fact, I would argue that it’s true in every aspect of our lives. With friendships, with our wants, with the things we long for, with acceptance from others, in our drive for success or anonymity. We are always striving to create a place for our selves. We want to belong.
I have never met someone who wants to be left out. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t want to find acceptance from somewhere; from someone. I’ve known a lot of people who say they don’t care, met even more who work very hard to act like they don’t care. But ultimately, they do. They can’t help it. We were made to have place. Because place is directly connected to relationship and we are creatures of relationship.
So Jesus says don’t be troubled because I am preparing the ultimate place for you. A place perfect for you. A place where everything is as it was meant to be. A place that will never be taken from you.
And Jesus goes on to add another critical point. He says, “I will come back for you.”
We don’t have to create this place ourselves, and we don’t have to earn it or fight our way into it. We won’t miss it because we are invited into it. Jesus is coming for us, to take us there. To take everyone there who simply places their trust in him.
So as you go about your business today, as you interact with others; as you strive for acceptance and to be noticed; and as you seek to create places in your life at work and home and with friends; remember this one thing:
Jesus went to prepare a place for you. The ultimate and eternal place. A place with the Father. And he is coming again to take you there with him. So don’t be too troubled over this life and these struggles and the tenuous state of your place here.
There is another place. A better place. Jesus prepares it for you.