Don’t Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

A few weeks ago, my husband and I decided to skip the traditional fish brunch that I normally prepare for Easter and we made reservations to go eat at a restaurant instead. This past Sunday, along with many other folks, my family feasted—I mean, we ate like kings and queens—on some serious food. My favorite part of the brunch? I didn’t have to do dishes afterwards. My least favorite moment? The weeks before Easter.

In the days leading up to Easter, I kind of drove my family crazy. Instead of showing enthusiasm about our new plans, I resisted. Every time someone shared their excitement, I killed it with horror. I brought up every bad restaurant experience we ever had and multiplied it by hundred. That’s what I do whenever I get nervous about trying something new. Instead of feeling excited, I anticipate the worst-case scenario so that I don’t feel disappointed if something goes wrong. I think I’m avoiding feeling any type of regret later, but what about feeling guilty over trying to destroy my family’s joy this Easter?
Do you see the parallel with the disciples here? You don’t? Think back for a moment and look at the disciples after Jesus’ death. Instead of believing, they let fear and worry paralyze them. And just like them, I hid my fear and worry hoping no one saw the real struggle going on in my heart. Did they remember Jesus’ words in those dark days? Do I?
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you, I do not give to you as the world gives.
No matter how hard I try to avoid conforming to the patterns of this world, I still do. I fall into the trap of wanting everything perfect and then I get tangled up in the web of worrying. No, no peace here, just the-end-of-the-world moments swirling in my head full of tragedy and hopelessness.  
Do not let your hearts be troubled, 
And yet my heart stays anxious. Out of desperation, I lay it all out in front of God. Confession does wonders for the heart and the restricting force of worry disappears. I no longer want a perfect Easter ‘cause in the midst of confessing my sin and weakness, I remember I already have the perfect Easter. God is satisfied.
And do not be afraid.
Jesus said, “do not fear,” to His disciples right before going to the cross. He meant it and still even today believers struggle—I struggle with fear and everything else that comes with it. We forget His Word, His promises and His gift of eternal life with Him. 
This past Sunday my family, along with many others, worshipped a Savior who laid His life for those He loves. We sang, we rejoiced and we held on to His wonderful grace. Everything about Easter should remind us of the perfect Lamb of God, who came to take away the sins of the world. My least favorite moment? His suffering, for it proved gruesome. My favorite part of this story? His love, the gift, the grace, the eternal life with Him, with Jesus. No more sadness, no more worry and no more fear. 

Raquel Wroten (MAMC, Dallas Theological Seminary) was born in McAllen, Texas but has lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area most of her life. Raised by a single mother, Raquel grew up knowing the meaning of diversity, creativity, and chaos through her four brothers and three sisters. The greatest gift she ever received came from her mother who taught her that living as a believer doesn’t mean perfection, it means grace. Raquel met her husband Rick at a church retreat in Oklahoma on a cold November weekend. They dated for a year and got married in June 1992. A couple of years later, Rick graduated with his ThM, and they welcomed Joshua. . .then Abby. . .and surprise, it’s Anna! Intermixing their cultures, the Wrotens have established a variety of traditions along with interesting combinations of food. Raquel believes that ministry begins at home so she finds new ways of serving those she calls her own. Raquel serves as editor of DTS Magazine and enjoys writing (in English, Spanish and Spanglish), cooking, coffee, education and serving up a feast for her friends and family.