Darnell entered the physical therapist’s office knowing he would experience a lot of pain. The therapist stretched and bent his arm and held it in positions it hadn’t been in for months since his injury. After holding each uncomfortable position for a few seconds, she gently told him: “Okay, you can relax.” He said later, “I think I heard that at least fifty times in each therapy session: ‘Okay, you can relax.’ ”
Thinking of those words, Darnell realized they could apply to the rest of his life as well. He could relax in God’s goodness and faithfulness instead of worrying.
As Jesus neared His death, He knew His disciples would need to learn this. They’d soon face a time of upheaval and persecution. To encourage them, Jesus said He would send the Holy Spirit to live with them and remind them of what He had taught (John 14:26). And so He could say, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. . . . Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (v. 27).
There’s plenty we could be uptight about in our everyday lives. But we can grow in our trust in God by reminding ourselves that His Spirit lives in us—and He offers us His peace. As we draw on His strength, we can hear Him in the therapist’s words: “Okay, you can relax.”
What causes you stress? What characteristics of God can help you learn to trust Him more?
John 13–17 is known as the Upper Room Discourse or our Lord’s Farewell Discourse. After three years of ministry, the time for Christ’s departure had come (13:1). Within the next twenty-four hours He would be crucified, and within weeks He would return to His Father in heaven (14:3–4). Therefore, He seized this very special time to console, instruct, and encourage the men He had chosen to carry on His work. Not only did Jesus tell them that He would send the Holy Spirit (14:16–17, 26; 15:26; 16:7–11) to be their Advocate (one who would come alongside to aid and assist them), He shared other truths that would strengthen them as His representatives. Truths about serving and loving one another (13:1–15, 34–35; 15:12–17), about abiding in Him and bearing fruit (15:1–11), and about being hated and persecuted by the world (15:18–16:4).