This morning I woke up with a troubled mind. Immediately my thoughts ran to, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27 NKJV) The phrase “not as the world gives” struck me. Considering the troubles in our world today, it’s just plain ludicrous to think the world could possibly give anyone peace.

In the passage from the Gospel of John, Jesus is preparing His disciples for His death. The disciples expected Jesus to fix all the troubles in their world. To heal all physical illness and remove the Romans. Instead, Jesus tells them: He is going where they cannot (then) go; If they see Him, they’ve seen the Father; He is sending the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit would teach them and bring to their memory all He said to them. That, although the world would see Him no more, they would.

This particular teaching disturbed the disciples. (John 16:18) (If we’d been there, we would have been disturbed, too!) Especially when Jesus told them things they couldn’t comprehend. He said He was going away. He would send the Holy Spirit to take His place. He told them the Holy Spirit would be better for them. (John 16:7) “Better?” What a shocker that must have been! How could ANYTHING be better than having Jesus with them?

Our nature is no different. We also become anxious and fearful when troubles surround us and we don’t understand what’s going on. As long as Jesus was with them physically, the disciples were confident. Hearing Him say “I’m going away” brought worry, fear, and uncertainty into their minds.

The word “nature” comes from the Latin word for “birth.” My nature has grown out of what I was “birthed” into: My experiences as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, mother-in-law and grandmother. The troubles of this life have, indeed, affected my thoughts, decisions, views and actions. Nevertheless, my Lord and Savior taught me to look to Him. I deliberately run troubles through the ‘filter’ of my relationship with my heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.

Martha and her family were good friends to Jesus. He often stopped by their home with His disciples. Busy preparing to serve them, Martha was perturbed that her sister Mary hadn’t “stayed in the kitchen” with her, and complained about the situation to Jesus. He responded, “…Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42 NKJV)

Mary chose to focus on the Lord and Jesus commended her for it. Martha was focused on the details of serving, rather than on Who she was serving. We can be like Martha – distracted by the troubles and details of life. So distracted that we forget our glorious, gracious, kind, awesome Lord Who is always with us. When we decide to trust God in the face of floods, winds, and storms we know by experience that Jesus is, indeed, our Solid Rock. Our Anchor that holds.

Jesus has given us the promised Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is with us, guiding us into all truth, and giving us peace in the midst of our troubles. When troubles overwhelm and distract you, you know that you have not taken those troubles to the Lord Jesus. If you don’t know Him personally those “storms and winds” will destroy your peace. If you do know Him, like Mary, you can fix your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith, and know His peace.

On my wall is a little cross-stitch prayer, “In my Martha-like life, give me a Mary-like heart.” I read this little prayer daily. As troubles come, this prayer encourages me to keep my mind and heart in the right place: Fixed on Jesus and His Word.