Jesus prescribed THIS antidote for a troubled heart
My husband and I met at the orientation weekend of our freshman year at college. By the end of September, we were dating and by Thanksgiving, we both knew we would eventually marry. At 18 years old, we weren’t ready for marriage, nor were our parents keen on us getting married so young. We dated that year, sophomore year and junior year. Toward the end of our junior year we were struggling for many reasons. In our immaturity, we had developed many patterns of relating that were not healthy. We agreed we should break up.
That time was very hard for both of us. We remained broken up for another two years. I remember describing the fear and sadness I was feeling as a black hole. Where once I could envision our future, I now saw only darkness. Where once I had chosen names for our future children, I now had no idea what my life would look like. Depression set in and I struggled with sadness for the next six months or so.
In my head, having a plan equaled happiness. I could picture life, so I felt secure. The truth was, even when I thought I had a firm plan when we were dating, I had no guarantee that those plans would come true. Having a plan does not ensure it will come to fruition. I was in the same amount of control of my future the day before we broke up as I was the day after we broke up. I had no control at either time. The control I thought I had was an illusion after all.
The disciples may have had some of the same thoughts and struggles I did after the crucifixion of Jesus. They saw him die. They knew a tomb held his body. Their plans did not include the death of their master. They were grieving the loss of their friend and the loss of the future they thought they would have.
In Luke 24, we read of a series of events that must have been bewildering to the followers of Christ. First, several women went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away, and the tomb empty. Angels who told them that Jesus was not there. The women went back and told the disciples, who didn’t believe them.
Peter ran to the tomb at this news and saw the cloths but not the body of Christ and wondered what happened.
Two disciples encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Not recognizing Jesus, they discussed the events of the previous few days. Jesus explained how the entire Old Testament pointed to this outcome. When they finally recognized him, he disappeared. They headed to Jerusalem and told the disciples what had happened to them.
Then Jesus appeared in the room with the disciples. He greeted them with peace but they responded with fright. And then he asked them this amazing question:
Jesus showed them the physical evidence, his hands and feet, then asked for some food to eat. Next, he offered them the antidote to their troubled minds and to their doubts. He explained scripture to them.
The antidote to their troubled hearts was knowledge about how God’s plan would play out.
Luke uses the Greek word, tä-rä's-sō, for troubled. It means inward commotion, disquiet, restlessness , fear, dread, anxiety, and distress. We see the same word used in John when he quotes Jesus talking to his disciples.
Why were the disciples troubled? They didn’t know what was going to happen next. Their plans, ideas, and futures looked uncertain. I face these same types of uncertainties in my own life. I'm sure you do too.
I have a troubled heart when:
- I have lost a job
- My child has an injury
- My relationships feel tense or stressed
- I watch someone I love hurting
- I focus on my own comfort over spiritual growth
- God is trying to get my attention and I want to rebel
We have an advantage that the disciples didn’t have when they were trying to make sense of Christ’s death on the cross. We have the Bible to tell us the ultimate outcome to our situation. While the Bible doesn’t tell us how our specific situation will turn out, it does tell us our ultimate destiny. If we are followers of Jesus Christ and trust in him for our salvation, we will spend our eternity in heaven.
Jesus will return for us and God will reign. He will conquer Satan once and for all. God’s kingdom will be perfect and all sadness, evil, and sickness will disappear.
This gives me HOPE!
To cure our troubled hearts, we must look to our ultimate future.
After graduation, Dave and I both moved to our hometowns and started working. We had been apart almost two years when Dave flew out to visit me. We got engaged that weekend and got married a few months later. It wasn't the future I had envisioned when we had been dating before...it was a better future, it was God's plan for us!
If you have a troubled heart today, could you be too focused on your immediate situation? Focus instead on the eternal reality. Sounds easy, right?
No, this is not an easy thing to do. It takes a life time of practice. Here are four suggestions for curing a troubled heart.
1. Remember this world is temporary. God’s kingdom is eternal.
2. Ask for prayer from others. God will help you overcome a troubled heart.
3. Search for small victories in your situation. God is working every day in your life. Praise him for each little thing. Be thankful.
4. Find a verse to claim. (Some suggestions: Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:6-7, Proverbs 12:25.) Put it up around your home, in your car, and on your phone’s lock screen. Use scripture as a weapon to combat discouragement.
Leave me a comment and tell me your favorite verse to combat a troubled heart.
For more on discouragement, check out What I Learned From a Bout with Discouragement.
For another cool love story, check out A Beautiful Love Story.
To read more about my (perfect and imperfect) marriage, check out Love and Weakness.