Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
This beautiful verse comes just after Jesus has told the disciples that he will be crucified, that Judas will betray him and that Peter will deny him. I can only imagine the state of confusion and uncertainty the disciples were experiencing at these revelations.
Caroline always says one reason she loves me is that I don’t worry about things too much; that I roll with the punches. My dirty little secret is that I do everything in my power to avoid the punches in the first place. If I look at my life, it has been guided by avoiding uncertainty. I chose a discipline (engineering) that is as risk-free as they come and then decided to go into a profession (college professor) with more job security than nearly any other. I want to look ahead and have a reasonable idea of what the future will look like.
Life, however, has other plans, doesn’t it? As I close in on my fifth decade walking this trail, I look backwards a few years and see the unexpected deaths of two of the rocks of my life: Caroline’s Dad and my Mom; both taken far before any of us expected. I look forward and I want a smooth sunlit path but can barely even discern the next step through the dense trees and mist. Will my Dad still be there for me to call on my way home from work nearly every day? Will Caroline and I adjust to being empty nesters? Will our kids find a path through life that brings them fulfillment and joy? And these are just the parts of the trail I can see; what about the sudden unexpected turns in the path and the things that jump out from the woods?
I don’t like who I am when I’m stressed, but Jesus’ words in this verse bring me comfort and remind me that He is still here and He has got things under control. These “worldly” worries are insignificant in the big picture and He has left The Holy Spirit in our hearts to help guide our feet down this uncertain path.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
-Jesus of Nazareth