Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
John 14: 1-6; 27
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’
Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’
Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me…..
….Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
2 Corinthians 1: 3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
As we consider how we can ‘share our world’ this week, today we will think about drawing alongside others in their time of need, sharing their burden, speaking comfort and praying God’s peace.
In John 14, Jesus is speaking to His disciples during the Passover meal. This, remember, is the night before He was to be crucified. Fully aware of what lay ahead, He chooses to focus on the disciple’s needs rather than His own. He is primarily concerned with their care and comfort as He prepares them for what will be a very dark and difficult few days ahead.
The reality is that life is tough. No matter who we are or how much we attempt to shield ourselves from pain, it is inevitable that we will face circumstances which could shake our confidence, even overwhelm us or cause us to question all that we were once so certain of. One moment all could be going smoothly, then we receive test results or news about someone we love or we encounter a situation – and our world is shaken. Nothing is ever the same again.
The people you work with, friends you socialise with, and even your own family members, may look like they have it all together, they might even say that they don’t need God, they have no time for spiritual issues. However, be assured there will come a day when they face a situation which shakes their self-assurance. They may try to hide it but deep down they are desperate. I have seen it happen again and again. It’s then that they will turn to those who have faith in a God bigger than any circumstance and they will search for a hope greater than their pain. As we share their burden, offering comfort and care, we will point to the One who is the source of all comfort. That is why it is so crucial that we are intentional about investing in our relationships, especially those with people who aren't yet followers of Jesus. Over time we build up mutual trust and transparency which enables them to be open when they need our help - and God's. Of course we will each have our own challenges and trials. However, in the midst of them, as we receive God's comfort, we are able to share that comfort with others.
Just on Friday past we celebrated the incredible life of Ivan Alcorn. For the last months of his life, as he battled cancer, Ivan and the Alcorn family continued to share their world, showing the hospitality and kindness which has always been so characteristic of them. Rather than focusing on their own very real needs, they opened their home and their hearts to anyone who needed a roof over their heads or a meal in their stomachs. In doing so, they shared the comfort they were receiving from God and demonstrated a love which is stronger than any pain or prognosis. We honour them and we see them as an example to be emulated in our own lives.
Continue to pray for those you have invited to our Easter Sunday celebrations. Is there anyone else you might have forgotten about who you could still welcome into your world at this opportune time?