What Did Jesus Mean by ‘Let Not Your Hearts be Troubled’?

The sun pours in the window, sending rays of light all over the room. Slowly I open my eyes, filled with peace as I stretch. Suddenly the events of the night before flood my mind. My heart is in overdrive as I think about my husband being rushed away in an ambulance.

The night of terror fills my mind as I helplessly watch the emergency teamwork on my husband. His heart condition brought him to the point of death and back.

I jump out of bed shaking as I rush to the hospital. Yet, on the way, John 14:1 comes to mind and I sense God whisper to my spirit, “Let not your heart be troubled.”

Have you been here? An unexpected crisis. Or maybe you knew it was coming after a long battle with illness, losing your job, or discovering your spouse kept a deep, dark secret from you. You wonder where God is. You question the how and the why and fear swamps your mind and body.

The common overarching assumption in a life of following Jesus is that we will be cocooned from bad things happening. But Jesus did not say we wouldn’t have trouble.

In fact, He said just the opposite “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Before He gave these words of comfort, He told His disciples in 14:1, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”

Do Not Let Your Hearts be Troubled

In His farewell to His disciples, His consoling words to them and to us are beautiful:

Do not let your hearts be troubled.

You have faith in God; have faith also in me.

In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.

If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be (John 14:1-3). 

He had already told them of the trouble that was to come. In John 12, He tells them about His crucifixion and death. In John 13, He tells His motley crew how they would betray Him. The more He spoke of the prophecies and what was to come, the more unsettled they became.

Yet, He did not leave them without hope, which is why you see this passage in John 14. In the face of trouble and what looked to be the end — it was the means to a new beginning for His kingdom and all of mankind. He goes on to teach them of the victories that were to come.

He also taught how He was sending a friend in the form of the Holy Spirit. The disciples knew there would be dark days ahead, just like present Christians worldwide but Jesus’ encouragement to not let our hearts be troubled still applies today.

Trust in God — and Me

The trouble in our hearts and minds doesn’t just trouble us, it troubles our Mighty God in Heaven too. But Jesus didn’t want us to be powerless in the face of crisis. At the time of His Words, He knew what was about to happen was dark and demonic.

Yet, behind it, all was the hand of God already at work. His dying act of obedience to His heavenly Father was the very thing that would set our hearts free from all trouble. He not only told His disciples to trust in Him but also in God.

They had to trust God even when they couldn’t see any reasoning. It was to be their anchor in faith when their entire world fell before them as His body was taken from the cross.

It was also their anchor of focus in the midst of the storm and in the three days between His death and rising again. It was their anchor of hope when He reminded them, He would come again.

Not just after rising from the dead but also 40 days later when He ascended into heaven right before them.

The Anchor of Peace

Now as you read all of the events above that unfolded throughout the gospels from His crucifixion to resurrection, you may think, “Great, but they had Jesus in the flesh and saw miraculous things to strengthen their faith and peace.”

You might even think their definition of peace is different to the peace you need right now. How would you define peace right now? Is it happiness, contentment, or feeling complete? You might even think the opposite of peace is trouble. But Jesus defined it differently.

He reminds us peace is keeping our eyes on Him in the middle of adversity. In the middle of all circumstances, He tells us we can keep from feeling troubled by keeping our eyes, fully, and squarely on Him.

The greatest tool we have to keep our hearts from being flooded with chaos and trouble is His Word. If we believe the Bible is the revealed Word of God given to us to show us how to keep our eyes on Christ, then we should not only read it often, but hide His Word in our hearts like today’s key verse, John 14:1, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”

The greatest defense against anything that unsaddles our hearts is His Word because it is through His Word that our minds are renewed and settled into His perfect peace. That’s why God called His people to put His Word in their hearts and to imprint it into their minds.

  • His Word is power.
  • His Word is active and living.
  • His Word provides peace, hope, justice, love, and mercy.

In addition to hiding His Word in our hearts, meditating on it day and night, He invites us to pray and pray often. One of the healthiest ways to ease our troubled hearts is through talking to God. People tend to think prayer is talking to someone invisible in heaven that might or might not hear us.

Others think that prayer is a form of putting Jesus in a genie’s bottle, asking for wishes to be granted. Prayer is none of these things. It is literally just like talking to your best friend. He is there in your midst.

He hears every word you say, and He wants you to hear what He has to say to you too. He wants to keep the conversation going when you are rejoicing and grateful and especially when your world seems to be spinning out of control.

You might find yourself going back to pray over and over with your Bible in hand. This is what He wants. This is how we keep our hearts from trouble!

Our problems will not go away. Fear will still stalk us. Worry will still show up unannounced like an unwanted house guest. But so does God. As we acknowledge His presence, His promises, and His Word, He trades our troubled hearts for peace.

Romans 15:13 says, and now, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” The next time trouble rises, stop it in its tracks with the anchor or peace in our mighty God.

For further reading:

What Did Jesus Mean That We Will Have Trouble in This World?

What Does it Mean ‘Fear Not for I Am with You’?

Will God Really Meet All My Needs?

4 Ways to ‘Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled’ & What This Bible Verse Really Means

Will God Never Leave Us Nor Forsake Us?

Does God Care about the Little Things that Happen in Our Lives?

What Does God Say about Me?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/interstid


Heather Riggleman is an author, national speaker, former award-winning journalist and podcast co-host of the Moms Together Podcast. She calls Nebraska home with her three kids and a husband of 21 years. She believes Jazzercise, Jesus, and tacos can fix anything and not necessarily in that order! She is author of I Call Him By Name Bible Study, the Bold Truths Prayer Journal,  Mama Needs a Time Out, and Let’s Talk About Prayer and a contributor to several books.  Her work has been featured on Proverbs 31 Ministries, MOPS, Today’s Christian Woman, and Focus On the Family. You can find her at www.heatherriggleman.com or on Facebook.  

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