George H. Morrison - Devotional Sermons
Tribulation and the Untroubled Heart
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions--Joh 14:1-2
He Speaks Peace in the Midst of Tribulation
There are few more profitable studies than that of comparing spiritual things with spiritual. In the light of this, I should like to compare our text with that of Joh 16:33 --"In the world ye shall have tribulation." In certain selected seasons of our life it is easy to keep the heart untroubled. There are days in life, as in the world of nature, when everything is radiant and serene. But when our Lord says, "Let not your heart be troubled," He is not thinking of such days as that, as is evident from our texts. Tribulation is a spacious word. It comprehends a largeness of experience. It embraces everything from common worry up to fierce and bitter persecution. And it is in lives familiar with all that, and moving in an atmosphere like that, that our Lord looks for the untroubled heart. He is not legislating for recluses. He is not counseling such as live in shelter. He is speaking to men who are thoroughly familiar with the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." It is to them He says, in that quiet way of His, which in its quietness carries the ring of sovereignty, "Let not your heart be troubled."
Jesus Promises a Peaceful Heart, Not an Untroubled Life
From this we gather that in our Lord's intention great emphasis is to be laid on the word heart. And when we turn to the Greek we find that this is so, for the word heart is put in the last place. Our Lord does not call us to an untroubled life. His own life was very far from that. He never asks us to shirk responsibilities, nor to rid ourselves of duties or of cares. But He wants us, as we move through life, playing our part and shouldering our burdens, to have a kind of interior tranquillity. In the world we may have tribulation, and the world for each of us is just our own environment; we may have dark anxieties in business; we may have a heavy load of care at home. But through all that, however hard and worrying, we are to move with a quiet undisturbedness, if we are to live as He would have us do. On the circumference may be a score of frets: these frets are never to reach into the center. Whatever the noise of battle in the field, the soul is to be garrisoned with peace. It is of that interior and sweet serenity that the Lord is thinking when He says, "Let not your heart be troubled."
Three Things Necessary: A Quiet Faith in God
For this undisturbedness, He tells us, there are three things which are necessary. The first of them is a quiet faith in God. If He be the God of Abraham and of Isaac, then He is the God of individuals. He does not deal with us upon the scale of thousands; He deals with us upon the scale of one. And our Lord means that to recognize that dealing, and to trust Him, often in extreme opposition to the senses, is one great secret of interior peace. If trials be only the bludgeoning of fate, if things that meet us be only chance occurrences, it is incredibly hard for common men and women to be victoriously serene within. But the moment we say, "This thing is of God," however dark and inscrutable it be, then the birds start singing in the trees. If underneath are the everlasting arms, if not a sparrow can fall without our Father, if He who sees the end from the beginning is ordering everything in perfect wisdom, however hard life be, or unintelligible, there comes a radiant quietness at the center, and in that quietness we overcome the world. We are not here to be beaten. We are here, the weakest of us, to be more than conquerors. A deep faith in the sovereignty of God overthrows the tyranny of things. All of which our blessed Savior knew so well, from His immediate communion with the Father, that He could say, "Let not your heart be troubled."
Faith in Jesus Christ
The next secret of the untroubled heart is a strong faith in the Lord Jesus. To trust Him fully is to be at rest. One is ready to think that when we follow Christ there is going to be exemption from life's hardships. But discipleship gives no exemptions--in the world ye shall have tribulation. Discipleship may not remove the trouble, but it gives such a new setting to it all, that the interior disquiet departs, and there comes the peace that passes understanding. Through Him we get a grip of God that was simply impossible before. Walking with Him, we learn the love of God with a fullness hitherto unknown. Looking to Him, so radiant and restful, under the very shadow of the cross, we find His spirit entering into us. When we do that, life may not grow easier. The thorn in the flesh may not be taken away. Burdens may weigh heavy on us still, and uncongenial tasks be very irksome. What is given is not a tranquil world, nor is there any promise ora tranquil life--what is given is the tranquil heart. We lose the fearfulness of manhood and reach the happy confidence of childhood. We have a Friend beside us in the darkest mile. We have a Savior who can save unto the uttermost. All of which, in the deep places of our being, unseen by any human eye, ushers in a certain shining peacefulness which the world can never take away.
A Living Faith in the Beyond
The last secret of the untroubled heart is a living faith in the beyond. "In my Father's house are many mansions ... I go to prepare a place for you." There every question will be answered, and every chastisement reveal its loving-kindness. There we shall reach the crowning and completion of all we have tried to do and failed to do. There these partings, which were so very bitter that for a time they almost wrecked our faith in God, will be justified in the gladness of reunion. Our light afflictions, which are but for a moment, will work for us an exceeding weight of glory. We shall arrive, and arriving understand. Heaven will make perfect our imperfect life. It was because our blessed Savior lived and died in this divine assurance that He said to His disciples, and says still, "Let not your heart be troubled."
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