‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
We all have times when we feel lost and alone; when we're scared at what the future might hold; or nervous of what we must go through. It might be to do with relationships, sickness, or death, and it may be short-lived or continue for months. At such times our faith can go out of the window. Often God seems far away, and even worse we find it difficult to pray.
John 14.1-6 is probably the most frequently chosen passage for funerals, and I have preached hundreds of sermons on this text. As a practical person I like to imagine things in pictures - Mr B playing golf with his friends in one part of God's house, and Mrs P sewing exuisite embroidery for angels, and Mr N singing tenor in God's choir. All nonsense I know, since we shan't have bodies, and anyway why would we want to see Aunt Maude with her zimmer frame, or Uncle Bert still virtually blind?
But there is a truth behind this lovely passage. The point is that we should believe in God and in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for they stand ready to enfold us in complete love when we need it. When we can't pray for ourselves, we should also allow others to do this for us. And the place that is prepared for us? I have no idea, but Jesus says it will be prepared for you and for me, when it's needed.
when life becomes tough,
and we feel unable to cope,
we ask You to lead us forward and guide our steps
until we can continue on our own feet.
Help us to know that You are always with us,
that You enfold us in Your love,
and will never leave us.