Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
Do not let your hearts be troubled. (John 14:1)
There is no way anyone in the upper room was more troubled than Jesus. In just a few hours, he was going to be beaten, crowned with thorns, and crucified—and he knew it was going to happen. Still, he took the time to encourage his apostles. I may be leaving, he told them, but don’t lose your faith or your peace over it. Trust me instead.
As the night went on, the apostles grew increasingly anxious and fearful—so much so that they ended up running away from Jesus. Their faith wasn’t strong enough to sustain them when they faced a life-or-death situation.
But that’s not how their story ends. Their faith returned when Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to them. They were so excited that they went out and set the world on fire for Jesus.
Were their hearts troubled after Jesus ascended into heaven? Yes, often. Did they lose their peace? Yes, often. Didn’t they have the Holy Spirit in them? Yes. So why couldn’t they hold firm? Because even the great apostles Peter, James, and John were still only human. Sometimes it takes time, even years, to develop that level of faith and trust.
So how do we regroup when our faith is tested? The best thing you can do is go easy on yourself. Remember how Peter lost his trust and denied even knowing the Lord. He wept bitterly when he realized what he had done, but he didn’t remain trapped in that bitterness and guilt. When he saw Jesus on the Sea of Galilee, he jumped into the water and ran to him. He let Jesus reassure him, and he resolved to keep moving forward in faith.
So whenever your faith is tested, or whatever you are struggling with right now, remember that Jesus knows you. He knows your worries. He is with you, surrounding you with his love. Try your best to rest in him.
“Lord, help me to keep moving forward, to hold my peace, and to trust in you.”
Father Ed Bakker,
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
Launceston on Tasmania