“Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?” Luke 24:38, NIV
From the time we’re born we’re introduced to worries but we’re too young to be aware of them and their potential to affect us; our awareness of anxiety is something that grows with us as we realise our limitations. The children’s author, Dr Seuss, wrote about it in a light-hearted way for children to learn to cope with it positively, and to be thankful that they have their own troubles and not those other people face: “It’s a troublesome world. All the people who’re in it are troubled with troubles almost every minute. You ought to be thankful, a whole heaping lot, for the places and people you’re lucky you’re not.”
Long before Dr Seuss, though, Jesus told His disciples, at a time when trouble was brewing for Him and would scatter them, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) He made sure that they wouldn’t be surprised when trouble came – and would stand!
He wanted them to know that however great the trouble was, they would be able to find their peace in Him, and be courageous, because He had triumphed over the world. He was their champion and He would never abandon them; His peace was far greater than the worst experience they could suffer in the world. They would never face trouble alone if they trusted Him – He would carry them to victory.
When Jesus asked the question in today’s verse, the disciples were “startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost”. (Luke 24:37) He had just appeared to them when they were gathered together, discussing His resurrection after the two disciples had met Him on the road to Emmaus. What is clear is that worry and doubt are linked and prevent rational thought, leaving a person in a weak state, unable to respond with confidence.
The disciples were already troubled and uncertain – and Jesus in His resurrection body didn’t look as He did before. Doubting Him increased their fear; but Jesus reassured them and patiently proved to them who He was, letting them touch His hands and feet, and see Him eat.
We, too, are often troubled and uncertain and don’t recognise Jesus with us because of our own fears; but Jesus shows the same kindness and grace to everyone who trusts in Him, wherever we are in our journey. His words to us are, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” (John 14:1) and “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Will you go to Jesus when you’re troubled?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are “the way, and the truth, and the life”; please take away all my doubts as I trust You and give me your peace. Amen.