Friday, September 23, 2016

In My Father's House...

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

In my Father's house are many mansions:

if it were not so, I would have told you.

I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you,

I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."

John 14:2-3

Reading these comforting words of Jesus, I thought of how often I am all tied up in knots with worries about the day or what might happen if... Yes, my heart is often troubled. Is yours? Are you facing a trial that you are dreading, wondering how you will ever get through? Have you experienced the unimaginable loss of someone dear to you that leaves you wanting to run away from life? Are you unable to picture your life without your dearest friend, loved one, child, spouse... Are you being threatened with the loss of your livelihood, or even worse, your life, for following Jesus?

These are frightening times we live in. As Believers, we are in the crosshairs of the enemy, who hates us because of the One we serve. Many of our brothers and sisters around the world are paying the ultimate price, in this life, at least, and are suffering persecution and martyrdom for their faith. Is it worth it? What does Jesus say to us as we face these trials and are tempted to cower in fear, to lose hope to walk away from our faith?

Jesus boldly calls His followers to faith - "You believe in God, BELIEVE ALSO IN ME!" None of these things come as a surprise to Jesus. He knows we tremble and shake and want to run away. He knows we are suffering for His name sake. He knows we are hurting, grieving our losses, dreading the trial ahead. He claims us as His own and boldly calls us to identify with Him, at all cost. 

Jesus doesn't pretend none of it matters, none of it hurts. No, He simply tells us there is a tomorrow we know nothing about. It is in "the Father's house." Jesus tells His disciples to look beyond what is terrifying them, depressing them, pulling them down. He comforts them, telling them lovingly that He is going ahead of them to His Father's house - where there are many "mansions". He assures them (and us) that He is going to "prepare a place for them, that where He is, we might be also..." 

Jesus is revealing His heart for His followers, here.  He knows they (we) are struggling, we are sometimes doubting what we know is true, we are hurting, we are being tempted to give up. He wants to reassure us, like a big brother who loves his little sisters and brothers, He is going ahead to prepare a place for us!  At the right time, He will take us there to be with Him.  I love how honest and real Jesus is in these verses.  He knows His disciples.  He knows their tendencies to give up. He knows their every weakness.  He loves them anyway!  He comforts them with His loving words.  

He is going to prepare a place for them (and us)!  Where, Lord.  We don't see it?  We are so limited in what we can see, and Jesus knows it.  He assures them, "if it WERE NOT SO, I WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU..."  How I love that!  He is saying, you can trust Me - have I ever lied to you before? I'm telling you where I'm going, what I'm doing and why.  You can take it to the bank - this is the truth...

I have needed to let that sink in a bit, to say the least!  Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Universe, is preparing a place for me and you!  He wants us to be with Him!  If that is not one of the most amazing truths of the Word of God, I don't know what is!  He promises to come back for us! He promises He has gone ahead of us to prepare for us!  He wants us there with Him, in His Father's house!  He could not promise us anything better.  Whatever we are suffering in this life, it has a limit.  It cannot go on for eternity.  Only God's love, expressed through the love and truth of our Savior, goes on forever.  And He has wrapped us in that love and promises to take us to be with Him in the center of the Father's love, in His house, where He has prepared a place for us.  Oh, that we might grasp the love of the Father for the Son and the Son for you and me...  May you be comforted by the promise of Jesus Christ, as you face the trials of this life:  He is coming back for you...