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Let Not Your Hearts be Troubled

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John begins and ends chapter 14 with the words: “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Today’s verse may be some of the most comforting of words in all of scripture. Jesus is speaking with a level of familiarity here, directing these words personally to the disciples, as if looking directly at each of them, and, we realize, at us. These words are directed to each one of us, personally and intimately. “Peace I leave you; my peace I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled”

And we know, through the gift of faith, that there is no peace that can surpass the peace that Jesus Christ offers us. There is no peace that the world can give to us that rises to the level of soul quieting peace that our Lord and Savior can give. It is the peace of perfect love. It is the peace that comes from God eternal. It is a peace so profound that it can sustain us even through the most trying of times, through the most troubling of trials that humanity can face. With this peace we can see the glory of God in all of creation, and in one another. With this peace, we can endure any suffering, any persecution, any ridicule, and all that this world can throw against us. In this peace we can profess our faith and love for God with unbreakable courage.

Jesus precedes this verse of incomprehensible comfort with his promise of the Holy Spirit. Though he returned to the Father, he did not leave us alone, abandoned to the world. He promised us that, if we keep his commandments, he would “ask the Father to send another Helper to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him for he dwells with you and will be in you…he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (verses 17, 26) This, then, is the source of our peace. God has sent us his Spirit. He dwells in the hearts of those who have given themselves to God with their whole hearts, their whole souls, and with all their might. These are the ones who keep his commandments with the courage of faith. These are the ones who know the peace of God in all that they do.

You will notice that what is being described here is a dialogue, a relationship of the most intimate kind. When we understand the commandments of God for what they are, roadmaps to our freedom from sin, and the means through which we learn the liberating virtue of self-discipline, by willingly and knowingly choosing to follow them and practice them, God gives us a peace that drives out all fear. That peace comes to us as a result of the relationship we form with God. When we come to know the love of God, it is natural for us to want to love him in return by keeping his commandments of love. It is in this relationship that we find our peace, a peace that the world cannot give.

Lord, we wish to turn our hearts, our minds and our eyes toward you in all things. We pray for the graces we need to know and understand your commandments, and the courage to love you by obeying them in all our words and actions in our daily lives. In this we know that our hearts will not be troubled. We pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.