By Fr. Erik Esparza
Do you remember the verse in which Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me” (John 14:1)? It comes from part of the Last Supper discourses found in Chapter 14 of John’s Gospel.
Through these discourses Jesus is preparing His disciples for his ensuing passion and death. In a way, Jesus is encouraging them much like a coach with a player before a big game or a teacher with a student before a big test. He wants them to remember all He has taught them. He needs them to trust that despite the obstacles that may come, He is never far away!
We, like the disciples, have moments where we doubt and situations where we don’t have the answer. So what do we do when life’s questions are not so quickly answered? In faith we turn to God’s word, God’s revelation, God’s promise. In Psalm 37:5 we are invited, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust that God will act.” And in Isaiah 30:15 we hear, “For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: by waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust your strength lies,” and in Hebrews 6:15, “And so, after patient waiting, he obtained the promise.”
You see, God does speak to us. God does tell us it will be okay! Perhaps not always with the straight lines we draw for ourselves, but after all we must remember, God says in Isaiah 42:16, “I will lead the blind on their journey; by paths unknown I will guide them. I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight. These things I do for them, and I will not forsake them.”
And so as Scripture reminds us, no matter where we may be or what we are going through, if we are committed to God, we trust God will act, and we are patient, God will not forsake us, rather God will show forth His promise, a promise of new life, a new beginning!
The words Jesus spoke to his disciples over 2,000 years ago are the same for us. DO NOT LET YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED! By letting our hearts become troubled we simply focus on what is crippling us and only see that which is wrong. This is never helpful nor redemptive. Rather, Jesus tells us to maintain faith, to trust that He is present and to remember His promise: a promise to guide, deliver, and save us!
Jesus will always be the way, the truth, and the life. And so if Jesus is the way He will offer you a path! If Jesus is the truth He will help you to discover it and be set free by it! And if Jesus is the life, He will bring you through suffering and death to newness of life!
Now go forth and be a joyful witness!
Fr. Erik Esparza is Associate Director of the Office of Priest Personnel in the Diocese of San Bernardino.