A friend of mine says that her doctor usually monitors her blood pressure. But when she called her doctor’s office recently, the receptionist discouraged my friend from coming in, and suggested that she instead purchase her own portable machine and take her blood pressure at home. “Besides,” said the receptionist, “with this pandemic, everyone’s blood pressure is high now anyway!”
In my part of Canada, hair salons, restaurants, and other services are open again, but with new health protocols in place and with a great deal of uncertainty. The government-declared state of emergency due to the novel coronavirus continues, so if cases surge, we could face another round of closures. The protests in the United States calling for racial justice have affected us here too, with some insisting that systemic racism must end and others refusing to admit that it exists in Canada at all.
On a more personal level, some friends are struggling between his job, her job, and caring for their pre-school children. Another has had her hours cut, so is looking for extra work. Members of my church are dealing with various health issues unrelated to COVID-19, the loss of family members and friends, navigating changes at work and different family dynamics.
What will the next days, months, and years bring? How can we adjust to the “new normal,” when even the new normal keeps changing? For all these reasons and more, maybe our collective blood pressure is higher than usual these days.
On the night of Jesus’ arrest, Jesus’ disciples also faced an uncertain future with many questions. Jesus had just told them that he would be leaving, but what did he mean by that, and where was he going? After three years of close companionship and ministry, why couldn’t they go with him? What would they do without him?
At the time, Jesus’ disciples didn’t realize that he was about to be arrested, put on trial, and crucified. They didn’t understand that he would rise again. So they were understandably confused by Jesus’ words. Their little band of disciples was about to change. The world as they knew it was about to change, but they weren’t sure exactly how.
Jesus reassured them with these words: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me” (John 14:1, New Living Translation). After all, they knew Jesus. They had seen him in action as he turned water into wine, healed a man who had been blind from birth, even brought Lazarus back to life after he had been dead for four days. “Just believe,” Jesus said, “Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do” (John 14:11).
To the disciples’ troubled hearts, these words of assurance pointed the way forward. They could place their trust in Jesus because they knew God’s work in him. For us today as well, whatever crises we may struggle with, whatever uncertainties we face, we can trust God because of who Jesus is and the work that God has done in him.
That work includes all of Jesus’ teaching and miracles recorded in the gospels. It includes his death and glorious resurrection. It includes his daily presence in our lives today. The work of God in Jesus Christ goes all the way back to creation, as the opening of John’s gospel tells us about Jesus as the Word of God, who existed from the beginning:
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone. (John 1:3-4)
So trust in God, trust in Jesus. As the divine Word, Jesus continues to bring life and light to us even in these days of uncertainty.