The Troubled Heart
This past week Janet and I went to see the movie, “Unbroken: Path to Redemption.” This move begins where the fist Unbroken movie ends, sharing the next amazing chapter of Olympian and World War II hero Louis Zamperini’s true story. During WWII his plane was shot down in the Pacific, Louis and Russell Phillips, the pilot, miraculously survived 47 days in a raft only to be captured by the Japanese. The ultimate story is that he was tortured by a Japanese officer they nicknamed: “The Bird”. The first movie ends with Louie returning to a hero’s welcome home at the end of WWII. I had already read his life story in the book, “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand, so I knew that was only half of his troubling story.
This second movie picked up where the other one left off and shows how he was tormented by nightmares and mental problems after the war. The only help Louis found was in alcohol. The only way he could sleep was when he was drunk. His life was falling apart, and his marriage was almost over when his wife Cynthia was invited to the 1949 Billy Graham meeting in Los Angles. After she had been a few times, she finally convinced Louis to attend with her. The first time Louis went, he ran out of the service at the altar call. She convinced him to attend again and he finally surrendered his life to Jesus. The movie shows him going home that night and pouring all the alcohol he had into the kitchen sink. Later he went to a Japanese military prison and forgave his captors who were facing trial for war crimes. At the end of the movie they had the real Louis who was in his 90s at the time testify and he said that he never took another drink of alcohol after that night and never had another nightmare. He spent the rest of his life traveling and sharing his testimony about Jesus.
As I was preparing to share a message this past Sunday on, “Overwhelmed: How to Deal with How You Feel.” I had worked all week and had my notes ready when I went to bed Saturday night. After a few hours I could not sleep. That is unusual for me as I normally don’t have any problem sleeping except when I have jet-lag from a long trip. So, when I can’t sleep It is usually the Holy Spirit wanting to talk to me. It’s like I feel the Holy Spirit saying, come-on get up I want some time with you. So about three AM I got up and as soon as I began to pray, I felt the Holy Spirit say these words to me:
“Tell the people about Jesus. The only true source of peace is Jesus.”
Then the Holy Spirit gently brought this scripture to my mind, first John chapter fourteen and verse one, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled.” I just sat there in the quite of the early morning and I felt like Jesus was there just as he was when he shared these words with his disciples the night he was betrayed.
Please take a moment right now and say this, “Don’t let your heart be troubled.” My dear friend, that is the Holy Spirit speaking to you right now.
These words impressed me so deeply, “The troubled heart”
Jesus had just told them he was going to be betrayed, suffer, and go away. He’s washed their feet and shared the Passover Last Supper with them. I’m sure they felt, overwhelmed. Then he says those precious words to them, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled.” Don’t let what I have told you or what is about to happen trouble you. Then he said, “Trust in God, and trust also in me.”
There it is — trust also in me.
That is what Louis Zamperini experienced at the Billy Graham meeting. He was Italian Catholic, he believed in God. His wife believed in God. But, they did not know Jesus. If you believe in God without a personal relationship with Jesus, all you really have is dead religion. The disciples believed in God before they met Jesus but all they had was religion. Jesus tells his own disciples, “you believe in God, believe also in me.” Even though you may be entering into some very troubling experiences, your heart does not have to be troubled.
Jesus ties the troubled heart to a promise.
”There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you. And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too” (John 14:2-3 NET).
In this is the promise of eternal life, the coming return of Jesus Christ and a place in heaven prepared for all believers. Also, in this promise Jesus is sharing with his disciples who, I think are feeling overwhelmed, about the dwelling place of God among us. He is saying that, by going to the cross and returning back through the resurrection I am preparing a house where there is room for for each of you, people from every nation and ethnicity with room to spare in my church that will be the body of Christ, the house of God. Every believer will be one of the many dwelling places that make up My Father’s house. A little while later Jesus says, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and take up residence with him” (John 14:23 NET).
The disciple Thomas is not getting it, so says to Jesus: “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Then Jesus make this wonderful declaration, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (v6).
Trouble and suffering come to upset your mind.
John Chapter 16, verse 33, in this same discussion Jesus is said, “In the world you have trouble and suffering.” But, he prefaced this statement with, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.” Did you catch it? “In me you may have peace.” There it is! Here’s the promise. We’re talking about a peace that is in Jesus Christ. A peace like the world doesn’t understand, they can’t comprehend and can’t teach. The peace that is in me will be in you. Then the he says,“take courage—I have conquered the world.”
It doesn’t get any better than that. Amen!
You can respond to this blog right here with your story. If you would like me to join you in prayer you can email me at Larry@praisechapel.com.
You can listen to the entire message click HERE.
We will continue with: Overwhelmed: How to Deal with How you Feel, next week.