“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me.” John 14:1
The night we realized we lost everything in Hurricane Katrina, I was worried about three things. One: where would I have the near-to-term baby growing in my womb. Two: what to do about our three year old’s recent development of temper tantrums since we evacuated New Orleans two weeks prior and Three: would I ever trust God again. I felt like he let us down when Katrina hit New Orleans. We were doing the work he called us to in a rough neighborhood in the city. We were as our urban ministry leaders like to say, “seeking the peace” of our city and yet, our city was destroyed and we could not go back. Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t go back— our home was under ten feet of water. That night, I sat in a darkened living room in my family’s home in Texas, effectively homeless and without a single thing to offer anyone. We were so broke I couldn’t even put gas in my sister’s car as a thank you for driving us around, since the minivan we evacuated in was filled to the brim with our stuff and we just thought the very worst thing that could happen to use was to have our van stolen with all our stuff because we made a middle of the night run to Walmart for ice cream because baby still has lots of cravings. Also, stress eating was a real thing.
In the days and weeks that followed our evacuation, I learned one very important lesson: my circumstances, no matter how desperate they may be cannot take away the one thing that matters most— Jesus’ love for me. In the nights when I held that baby in my arms and felt so alone, I would think of John 14 and how Jesus promises that he with us and he is worthy of our trust, so we need not be afraid. Jesus, who understands heartbreak and vulnerability in a profound way because of the cross, get us in our most heartbreaking moments so we need not be afraid, in fact, we can be grateful that we have a high priest who understands our suffering and speaks truth to them. Jesus, spoke the words of John 14 to his disciples because they were worried. There was murmurings of religious leaders who wanted Jesus executed and the people they trusted in their lives were doubting their sanity. They were a group of people who felt alone, confused, and vulnerable. I could relate. But, Jesus, from the outset gave the disciples a powerful promise and weapon against despair: His presence. His love. His solidarity. He gave them the peace they need in a chaotic world and that was enough for them. Eventually these men would give up their lives and be sent into exile over their belief in Jesus as their Savior, but they did it gladly because Jesus was was worth it. When the world has pressed us thin, we often feel like we have nothing to be grateful for, which is reasonable, but here’s the deal: we were made for more than this. We were made for wholeness and sweet intimacy with God. When we remember the words of Jesus to not let our hearts be troubled because he is with us, we are living wholeheartedly in broken, desperate situations. When things feel scary— and they still do— not to the degree of Katrina, but still I’m prone to worry, I stop and think of Jesus’ words that he is with me and he is worthy of my belief, my trust, my gratitude, and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding begin to fill my heart and where I felt as if I had nothing to give, nothing to be grateful for, I’m not eager to share a smile, a joke, a kind word and offer up prayers of thanksgiving. What a difference a change in perspective and a decision to believe in Jesus, makes.
About the Author: Osheta Moore is an Anabaptist-y, podcaster, blogger, doggie mommy, and mom to three kids ages 15, 12, 11. Her husband is a pastor of a church and she’s in the thick of moving our family from L.A. to Saint Paul. She’s the author of “Shalom Sistas: Living Wholeheartedly in a Brokenhearted World” and it is her love letter to every woman who wants to see peace in her everyday life but feel like she’s not enough or has no idea where to begin. You can connect with her at Shalominthecity.com.