In My Father’s House
Recently I talked to a hurting heart. I prayed with a discouraged heart. I listened to a broken heart. I heard of a fearful heart. Our world is filled with troubled hearts . . .
Which is exactly why you and I need to hear again and again those wonderful words of Jesus. Here they are, in the poetic words of the King James Version: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3).
Is Jesus Really Right?
Have you ever been tempted to debate Jesus on this one?
Lord, that’s easy for You to say, Let not your heart be troubled. You’re not living on this planet. Certainly You remember what it’s like to live here? Does He?
We have income downturn, and outgo upturn. We have strange weather patterns, either too much or too little. We have terror by day and weapons of mass media by night. We have pestilence on our shores and an epidemic fear. We have popular heroes who abuse women and children. We have all manner of addictions that sink our values and attack our hearts. We have leaders who are sour in the brine of inappropriate behavior. We have young people under attack and unhelped by dysfunctional families. We have religious events that prophetically point to a world poised to wonder and wander after papal power.
Yet Jesus says, “Let not your heart be troubled.”
Lord, certainly You see what we have! Does He?
A spouse caught in the grip of terminal illness; creditors at the doorstep and on voice mail; a child whose tour of duty puts them in the midst of enemy territory; a marriage collapsing; career struggles; property to manage and renters who don’t pay.
The One who knows all and who makes no mistake says, “Let not your heart be troubled.”
Jesus Really Is Right!
Trouble has a way of looming large on the monitor of life. It can stop us in our tracks.
It can bring sleepless nights and frazzled days. It can make us sick with worry and drive us deep into depression. And Jesus says: “Let not your heart be troubled.”
Because: “In My Father’s house, there are many mansions . . .”
Some Bible versions give a more accurate translation of the Greek by reading: “In my Father’s house are many rooms” (John 14:2, ESV)* or “My Father’s house has many rooms.” I like the “many rooms.”
Hadley Hall, a red-brick colonial-style building with four massive white pillars, is the girls’ dormitory at Shenandoah Valley Academy, an Adventist school in Virginia, in the United States. Our family has lived there since February 2009. At times I stand on the front steps and greet guests and students with the words “Welcome to my house.” My house has a chapel, a workout room, a living room, two computer labs, two laundry rooms with a total of seven washers and seven dryers, three spacious lobbies, three kitchens, three offices, 43 bathrooms, 75 bedrooms, and a tiny one-car garage. But that’s nothing compared to my Father’s house. In my Father’s house are many rooms!
I have warm memories of going to my parents’ home in Florida. Whenever I come to my father’s house, I know there is food in the kitchen; a clean bed to sleep in; a warm shower to take; family to talk with, and memories to share; work to do; laughter, love, security, and acceptance. I find all that “in my father’s house.”
Such a Splendid House!
Our hearts need not be troubled, because in our Father’s house are many rooms. “If it were not so,” Jesus insists, “I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again.”
A place prepared for you. God’s room for you has what you like.
When I visit my mom—when I go to my father’s house—I know that if I open the cabinet above the breakfast bar I will find a large container of cashews. Mom knows I like cashews, so she has some there for me. Often she has homemade chocolate-chip cookies in the same spot. Why? Because she knows I like her cookies the best. Before I come, she prepares them for me.
I believe Jesus is saying to us, “Please don’t let the troubles of this earth weigh heavy on your heart. I know it’s not easy. But this world is not your home. I am preparing a place for you in My Father’s house, with all of the things you like.”
Years ago I sat in the junior tent at Wisconsin camp meeting and listened to the afternoon speaker talk about heaven. I will never forget that experience. I don’t remember what he said, but I will always remember that what he shared made me think about living in my Father’s house.
I thought, Wouldn’t it be nice if my room was carpeted with the kind of grass on a golf green? Lush, soft, and moist.
And how about a waterfall for a shower? Warm water, of course!
Then at the breakfast table I can imagine the limb of a peach tree growing right into the kitchen window. I think a South American mango tree would also be nice.
And how about strawberries planted under the table? With a blueberry and raspberry bush close by as well.
God is preparing rooms for us, each one of us, with the things each one of us will like.
This simple song we used to sing around the campfire tells our story well:
“My home’s in heaven, just a-waitin’ for me,
And when I get there, how happy I’ll be.
My home’s in heaven, the rent is free,
For Jesus paid it on Calvary!”
So “let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many [rooms]: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto to myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3, KJV).
* Scripture quotations marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.