"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me." John 14:1
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
I've heard it said, "The hardest thing you've ever gone through is the hardest thing you've ever gone through," meaning we all experience pain on our own relative scale. What you have gone through may be "worse" than what I've experienced, but that doesn't mean I've experienced less pain than you.
My four-year-old son is the most dramatic person I've ever met. Truly. You think "oh all preschool kids are dramatic," and you are right, but this kid... this kid takes things to a whole new level. My son feels things so very deeply and he loves to express those deep, deep feelings in the most sincere ways. Equal to the depths of his feelings is his outlandish expressions of said feelings. His sorrow is "lose-all-ability-to-use-muscles-cry-your-eyes-dry-and-don't-let-up-until-there-is-ice-cream" kind of sorrow. His joy level is so outrageous, you may think he's Pentecostal and he's living in a constant state of baptism. So he is fun. Like really fun. And we are all exhausted. (Truly though, he is radiant joy in our lives and a constant source of fun and brings a sense of ease [usually] to our home. If you were to ever have the pleasure of meeting him, you would genuinely feel it a pleasure to have met him. He has some kind of special anointing on his life.)
If you were to ask my son about the deepest pain he's ever experienced in life, he may tell you about the time that Jesse's life was threatened. Jesse is his hedgehog stuffed animal (he swears it's a bear, but it is most decidedly a hedgehog). Jesse is his most treasured possession, his "baby", and he would do anything for her. One evening, my two boys were arguing and things were getting heated, but once my oldest yelled out, "I'm going to microwave Jesse!" the gloves came off and my four-year-old launched himself on top of my seven-year-old son and started wailing on him. It broke his heart and enraged him all at once to have the "life" of his beloved Jesse threatened in such a dark and sadistic way: microwaved alive. That may not be a big deal to you (or any normal, rational human), but to an (irrational) child it was the single worst experience and pain to have felt. His worst pain was exactly that: his worst pain. His heart was overwhelmed with trouble at that moment.
Jesus tells us in John 14 to not let our hearts be troubled and then he implies that the cure for a troubled heart is to believe in Him. That word for "believe" is the Greek word "pisteuō" which means to place confidence in. Let sink from your mind down into your heart for a moment. "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe [place confidence in] God; believe [place confidence in] also in me." It can be too easy for me to focus so intently on whatever trouble I'm facing that I forget to factor Jesus into the equation. My confidence becomes dependant on whether or not there is a good outcome. Looking at my problems, my confidence is shaky. Do I have the right abilities to overcome this? Am I smart enough to figure my way out of this? Am I strong enough to withstand this?
The answer to all the grief and pain of uncertainty is in putting our confidence in Jesus. How can I do that? Right now, out loud, remind yourself of what you know to be true of God. What does scripture say about His character? He is righteous, He is just, He is full of mercy, He is full of grace, His kindness leads us to repentance, He is faithful no matter how faithless we are, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, He is generous, He blesses, He is slow to anger and abounding in love, He is LOVE. And all of these things are not dependent on how "good" we are at being Christians. They aren't His response to us; they are who He is regardless of how we resond to Him.
John 16:33 gives us a clearer vision of what Jesus is telling us. "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." We are going to have trouble push up against us from all sides. Being a Christian does not give us a free pass on going through hard things or experiencing pain. Jesus guarantees it here in this passage. But that trouble coming up around me doesn't have to climb down inside me. Don't let my heart be troubled. In this world, we'll have trouble, but we don't have to be troubled. The trouble around me doesn't have to become trouble inside me. And the only way to keep the trouble around you from becoming the trouble within you is to place your confidence in Jesus. He says, "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe [put confidence in] God; believe [put confidence in] also in me." He says, "I have said these things to you, that IN ME you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."
The trouble around me won't sink me because it isn't getting inside me and pulling me under. It isn't getting inside of me because my confidence is IN JESUS, not my circumstances, and it is IN JESUS that I have peace.
What trouble is pushing up against you from all sides today? Maybe it isn't anything "big" by some standards, but it's the biggest thing you've ever faced. That trouble is just as worthy of your trust in JESUS as all the earth-shattering, world-changing, universe-altering troubles. The greatest trouble you've faced is the greatest trouble you've faced. But here's the good news...
It's not the greatest trouble He has faced.
Your Jesus has died, gone down to hell, snatched those keys, and came back to life with power over death. Your Jesus has defeated sin and death forevermore. Your Jesus has healed the sick, raised the dead, made the deaf hear, the blind see, the mute speak, and the lame walk. Your Jesus has made a way for you to come home to Him when you were dead in your sins. Your Jesus loved you before you ever loved him. Your Jesus gave his very life for you to live... and live as He is.
It may be the greatest trouble you've faced, but it is nothing for Jesus. Put your confidence in Him and open your hands to receive the peace He promises in John 16.