revjoaquinwillisweb.gifWe live in troubled times. The general economy, rising health care costs, and unloving relationships beset us with worry. 

There is a message for us in the gospels, ever a reflection of the human condition.  In John (14:27), we read, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John’s record of the teachings and acts of Jesus are newly comforting.           

Christ, in the passages of John, instructs us as to the nature of the Holy Spirit, saying to us “Let the work I do speak for me.” Christ shows his deep love for us, in plain speech.      

Through the Holy Spirit, Christ guides us, plants truth in us, convinces us of God’s will, and reminds us not to stray from the Holy Spirit.  He warrants that the Holy Spirit will always be there for us. 

Fear, uncertainty, doubt, anger, and sin vex our hearts, wage war within us, and challenge God’s will.  The worldly forces at work in the politics of hate, impoverished economic systems, and failed relationships put us at risk.  But, if we are open to the Holy Spirit, we will find peace and the strength to resist the agents of  destruction.     

Evil is arrogant.  It tries to overpower the goodness of the Lord. Satan himself attempted to overtake the power of Jesus.  But Christ, assured of his Father’s will for Him, triumphed.  Christ spoke with authority about “an untroubled heart.”  He promised in John (14:27a), that He would give us peace, “if we would accept it from Him and not from the world.”

When we align ourselves with Christ and obey God’s word, Satan has no dominion over us.  Scholars find deep meaning in the latter part of John (14:31), wherein Christ states, “Come now; let us leave.”  Scripture recalls the story of Christ, burdened and heavy of heart, going into the garden of Gethsemane to pray.  He petitioned God, saying, “If you are willing take this cup of suffering from me, yet not my will, but yours be done.” 

Jesus, anxious about His forthcoming trials, reaffirmed His own teachings and commitment to God’s will.  He did not succumb to despair, despite the agony of His spirit.  We, too, must maintain faith–in good times and bad.     

The Holy Spirit is ready to lead us, to serve as example of God’s will.  And, should we stray, the Holy Spirit will remind us of God’s plan for our lives.  If we will let go of our past hurts and heartaches, and move forward with the blessed assurance that Jesus lives in us, the past will not taint our present, nor impart fear to our future.   

To all who believe, there is abiding peace to be found in “an untroubled heart.” 

The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami.  To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at