My heart has been troubled.
With all my heart, I know nothing is impossible with God. I know He is all-knowing, all-powerful and ever-present. I know He has a perfect plan for His followers. I know it is a good plan – one that is better than I could ever ask or think.
For almost five years, I have walked with a treasured friend through her cancer journey. I have never prayed more faithfully or persistently. I have prayed for her healing. I have prayed for God’s perfect will to be done.
Recently she was told the cancer had aggressively spread and was no longer responding to treatment. She and her family have made the decision to discontinue treatment.
My heart is broken. I am disappointed that God did not choose to answer my prayer in the way I wanted. I am struggling to make sense of it all. I am a doer and a fixer and there is nothing I can do to fix it. This is uncharted territory for me. I have never walked with a friend through the valley of the shadow of death. And I feel so very useless and lost.
Earlier this week, I went to God’s word, desperate to read His promises, desperate for encouragement. I needed to let Truth penetrate my grief. I needed to be reminded what the Bible said about Heaven.
I read John 14:1-3
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
Wanting to glean more details on our eternal dwelling place, I read Matthew Henry’s commentary on the verses. Instantly, I encountered my compassionate Savior. When I had read the Scripture verses earlier, I had glossed over the first words of the chapter. Matthew Henry’s words gave me a deeper perspective.
Do not let your heart be troubled. Jesus’ remaining days on earth were numbered, and His disciples, His dearest friends, were struggling. Matthew Henry wrote:
“The Lord Jesus who is acquainted with all our secret undiscovered sorrows, with the wound that bleeds inwardly; He knows not only how we are afflicted, but how we stand affected under our afflictions, and how near they lie to our hearts; He takes cognizance of all the trouble which his people are at any time in danger of being overwhelmed with; He knows our souls in adversity."
My racing thoughts stopped and I had instant clarity. Jesus wasn’t just aware of the disciples’ anxiety and struggles, He knew more about their affliction than they did! That not only applied to the disciples, it applies to me! Jesus knows my secret undiscovered sorrows that bleed inwardly! Jesus not only knows my heart, He knows my soul. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone or lost on this journey.
I re-read John 14:1-3, imagining myself sitting at the feet of Jesus and hearing Him speak the words directly to me.
Sharon, don’t let your heart be troubled. You believe in God, and you believe also in Me. Trust Me.
Sharon, in My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you. Trust Me.
Sharon, I have gone to prepare a place for you. Trust Me.
Sharon, I will come again and receive you to Myself. Trust Me.
Sharon, that where I am, there you may be also. Trust Me.
I must trust Jesus to work out every detail of His plan for my life, even if I don’t understand it.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
I must rest in the knowledge that His plan for my life is perfect.
For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11
I must relinquish my perceived control; He is in control and nothing catches Him by surprise.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. ~ Genesis 1:1
I must remember that the number of my days are appointed by God.
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written
the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.
I must rejoice when a Christ-follower takes their last earthly breath, for they will exhale in the presence of Jesus. Their life hasn’t ended; it has just begun.
“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,
and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
My hands are open in surrender, Jesus. I will trust You as I walk with You, and my dear friend, through this valley. And I will not let my heart be troubled.
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world. ~ John 16:33