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180

LII

THE TROUBLED HEART

“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”—John xiv. 27.

WHENEVER Ian Maclaren was called to a house of sickness or sorrow he always read to the troubled folk the fourteenth chapter of John. Nothing was ever used as a substitute for this. “If one is sinking into unconsciousness,” he said, “and you read ‘In my Father’s house are many mansions,’ he will come back and whisper ‘mansions,’ and he will wait till you finish ‘where I am there ye shall be also,’ before he dies in peace.” In such critical hours there is something so vital, so satisfying, so pacifying in our Saviour’s assurances of God and His wonderful preparations of redemption.

But it is not only in the last crisis of the great translation that we need the fourteenth chapter of John. There are sore convulsions 181in life when death is far away, and we sometimes wish it were near. Death might solve our troubles; life itself is the problem. We have suffered some heavy shock. Our circumstances are all upheaved. Familiar landmarks have been removed. We have lost our bearings.

And these are just the needs which our Lord associated with the word of grace. Our minds are distracted. We do not know how to direct our thought. We are pulled and driven many ways, and no way seems more imperative than another. Our inner life is like a discordant orchestra, like an orchestra without a leader, “all at sixes and sevens!” We are distracted. And we are also the children of fear. Uncertainty seems to have hold of things, and we look down every road with cold apprehension. And it is just this two-fold condition of the hot head and the chilled heart that our Saviour has in mind, and to which He would bring His wonderful ministry of restored assurance. “Let not your mind be distracted, neither let your heart be afraid!”

What is to be our resource in these troubled hours? Our Lord calls us to hold 182to one Centre, and to one only. If we get away from that Centre everything else will be erratic and eccentric. If we abide there everything will take its appropriate place. “Believe in God, believe also in Me!” We are to trust the Father as unveiled to us in Jesus Christ His Son. We are to fling ourselves, with all our weight of care and sorrow, upon His loyal and loving strength. We are to hold there—nay, to rest there, and the troubled incidents will begin to arrange themselves in divinely purposed ranks. If Christ be lifted up He will draw even these convulsive happenings into destined and friendly order. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

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