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Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

October 17, 2017

“I rejoice to see the courage of that young man who has but just joined the army of the Church militant, and is buckling on the glittering armor of faith! As yet there are no dents and bruises on that fair helmet and burnished breastplate. But let the wearer reckon upon blows, and bruises, and bloodstains! No, let him rejoice if he endure hardness as a good soldier, for without the fight where would be the victory? Brethren in our Lord Jesus, without due trial, where would be our experience? And without the experience, where would be the holy increase of our faith, and the joyful triumph of our love through the manifested power of Christ?

We must expect, then, to walk with our Lord to the gates of Gethsemane— both His and ours! We must expect to cross the Brook Kedron in company with our Master, and it will be well if we hear Him say to us as He did to His disciples on that eventful night, “Let not your hearts be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me.” My Brothers and Sisters, some of us live at this hour in the midst of trouble. We do not remember any period more dark with portents of evil than the present watch of earth’s long night.

There is no need to say, “Let not your heart be troubled,” when you are not in affliction. When all things go well with you, you will need another caution— “Let not your heart be exalted above measure: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” The word, “Let not your heart be troubled,” is timely, and it is wise.

A few minutes thought will lead you to see it. It is the easiest thing in the world, in times of difficulty, to let the heart be troubled. It is very natural for us to give up and drift with the stream, to feel that it is of no use “taking arms against” such “a sea of trouble”—that it is better to lie passive and to say, “If one must be ruined, so let it be.” Despairing idleness is easy enough, especially to evil rebellious spirits who are willing enough to get into further mischief that they may have more with which to blame God, against whose Providence they have quarreled. Our Lord will not have us be so rebellious. He bids us pluck up heart and be of good courage in the worst possible condition—and here is the wisdom of His advice, namely, that a troubled heart will not help us in our difficulties or out of them.

No good comes out of fretful, petulant, unbelieving heart-trouble. This lion yields no honey. If it would help you, you might reasonably sit down and weep till the tears had washed away your woe. If it were really to some practical benefit to be suspicious of God and distrustful of Providence, why, then, you might have a shadow of excuse—but as this is a mine out of which no one ever dug any silver, as this is a fishery out of which the diver never brought up a pearl—we would say, “Renounce that which cannot be of service to you, for as it can do no good, it is certain that it does much mischief.”

A doubting, fretful spirit takes from us the joys we have. You have not all you could wish, but you still have more than you deserve. Your circumstances are not what they might be, but still they are not even now so bad as the circumstances of some others. Your unbelief makes you forget that health still remains for you if poverty oppresses you. And if both health and abundance have departed, you are still a child of God and your name is not blotted out from the roll of the chosen! Why, Brothers and Sisters, there are flowers that bloom in winter, if we have but grace to see them! Never was there a night so dark for the soul but what some lone star of hope might be discerned! And never a spiritual tempest so terrible but what there was a haven into which the soul could dock if it had but enough confidence in God to make a run for it.

A troubled heart makes that which is bad worse. It magnifies, aggravates, caricatures, misrepresents. If but an ordinary foe is in your way, a troubled heart makes him swell into a giant. “We were in their sight but as grasshoppers,” said the ten evil spies. “Yes, and we were but as grasshoppers in our own sight when we saw them.” But it was not so.

Yet this is the habit of Unbelief—to draw our picture in the blackest possible colors—to tell us that the road is unusually rough and utterly impassable. He tells us that the storm is such a tornado as never blew before, and that our name will be down in the wreck register—that it is impossible that we should ever reach the haven.

Moreover, a troubled heart is most dishonorable to God. It makes the Christian think very harshly of his tender heavenly Friend. It leads him to suspect eternal faithfulness and to doubt unchangeable love. Is this a little thing? It breathes into the Christian a proud rebellious spirit. He judges his Judge, and misjudges. He has not learned Job’s philosophy. He cannot say, “Shall we receive good from the hand of the Lord, and shall we not also receive evil? The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, and blessed be the name of the Lord.”

There is a way of keeping the heart out of trouble, and the Savior prescribes the method. First, He indicates that our resort must be to faith. If in your worst times you would keep your head above water, the life belt must be faith. Now, Christian, do you not know this? In the olden times how were men kept from perishing but by faith? Read that mighty chapter in Hebrews, and see what faith did—how Believers overcame armies, put to flight the army of aliens, quenched the violence of fire—and stopped the mouths of lions! There is nothing which faith has not done or cannot do! Faith is girdled about with the Omnipotence of God for her girdle. She is the great wonder-worker. Why, there were men in the olden times whose troubles were greater than yours, whose discouragement’s and difficulties in serving God were a great deal more severe than any you and I have known, yet they trusted God! They trusted God, and they were not confounded. They rested in Him, and they were not ashamed. Their puny arms worked miracles, and their uplifted voices in prayer brought blessings from on high. What God did of old He will do now—He is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
– Charles Spurgeon


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