"You Do the Trusting;
I'll Do the Taking"
When Will He Come?
Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me
I will come back and take you to be with me.
Parenting is packed with challenges. Who among us has answers to
the questions children ask?
"Why can't I have another puppy?"
"But you got married when you were eighteen. Why can't I?"
"Daddy, what is Viagra?"
Such questions would cause a sage to stammer. They pale, however,
compared to one a child asks on a trip. In a comprehensive
survey conducted by Lucado and Friends (I interviewed a couple
of people in the hallway), I determined the most dreaded question
in parentdom. What is the single query hated most by moms and
dads? It's the one posed by the five-year-old on the trip, "How
Give us the dilemmas of geometry and sexuality, just don't make
a parent answer the question, "How much farther?"
It's an impossible question. How do you speak of time and distance
to someone who doesn't understand time and distance? The
novice parent assumes the facts will suffice , "Two hundred and fifty
miles." But what do miles mean to a pre-K kid? Nothing! You might
as well have spoken Yiddish! So the child asks, "What is two hundred
and fifty miles?" At this point you're tempted to get technical
and explain that one mile equals 5280 feet, so two hundred and fifty
miles equals one million three hundred thousand feet. But four
words into the sentence, and the child tunes you out. He sits quietly
until you are quiet and then asks, "How much farther?"
The world of a youngster is delightfully free of mile markers and
alarm clocks. You can speak of minutes and kilometers, but a child
has no hooks for those hats. So what do you do? Most parents get
creative. When our girls were toddlers, they loved to watch The
Little Mermaid. So Denalyn and I used the movie as an economy of
scale. "About as long as it takes you to watch The Little Mermaid
And for a few minutes that seemed to help. But sooner or later,
they ask again. And sooner or later, we say what all parents eventually
say, "Just trust me. You enjoy the trip and don't worry about the
details. I'll make sure we get home OK."
And we mean it. We don't want our kids to sweat the details.
So we make a deal with them, "We'll do the taking. You do the
Sound familiar? It might. Jesus has said the same to us. Just prior
to his crucifixion, he told his disciples that he would be leaving
them. "Where I am going you cannot follow now, but you will follow
later" (John 13:36).
Such a statement was bound to stir some questions. Peter spoke
for the others and asked, "Lord, why can't I follow you now?" (v. 37).
See if Jesus' reply doesn't reflect the tenderness of a parent to
a child: "Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust
in me. There are many rooms in my Father's house; I would not tell
you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for
you I will come back and take you to be with me so that you
may be where I am going" (John 14:1-3).
Reduce the paragraph to a sentence and it might read: "You do
the trusting and I'll do the taking." A healthy reminder when it
comes to anticipating the return of Christ. For many, the verb trust
is not easily associated with his coming.
Our pre-K minds are ill-equipped to handle the thoughts of
eternity. When it comes to a world with no boundaries of space and
time, we don't have the hooks for those hats. Consequently, our
Lord takes the posture of a parent, "You do the trusting and I'll do
the taking." This is precisely his message in these warm words of
John 14. Let's ponder them for a bit.
All of his words can be reduced to two: Trust me. "Don't let your
hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me" (v. 1).
Don't be troubled by the return of Christ. Don't be anxious
about things you cannot comprehend. Issues like the millennium
and the Antichrist are intended to challenge and stretch us, but not
overwhelm and certainly not divide us. For the Christian, the
return of Christ is not a riddle to be solved or a code to be broken,
but rather a day to be anticipated.
Jesus wants us to trust him. He doesn't want us to be troubled,
so he reassures us with these truths.
I have ample space for you. "There are many rooms in my
Father's house" (v. 2). Why does Jesus refer to "many rooms"? Why
does our Master make a point of mentioning the size of the house?
You can answer that question as you think of the many times in
life you've heard the opposite. Haven't there been occasions when
you've been told: "We have no room for you here"?
Have you heard it in the workplace? "Sorry, I don't have room
for you in my business."
Have you heard it in sports? "We don't have room for you on this
From someone you love? "I don't have room for you in my heart."
From a bigot? "We don't have room for your type in here."
Most sadly, have you heard it from a church? "You've made too
many mistakes. We don't have room for you here."
Some of the saddest words on earth are: "We don't have room
Jesus knew the sound of those words. He was still in Mary's
womb when the innkeeper said, "We don't have room for you."
When the residents of his hometown tried to stone him, were
they not saying the same? "We don't have room for prophets in this
When the religious leaders accused him of blasphemy, weren't
they shunning him? "We don't have room for a self-proclaimed
Messiah in this country."
And when he was hung on the cross, wasn't the message one of
utter rejection? "We don't have room for you in this world."
Even today Jesus is given the same treatment. He goes from
heart to heart, asking if he might enter. But more often than not,
he hears the words of the Bethlehem innkeeper: "Sorry. Too
crowded. I don't have room for you here."
But every so often, he is welcomed. Someone throws open the
door of his or her heart and invites him to stay. And to that person
Jesus gives this great promise: "Do not let your heart be troubled.
Trust in God. And trust in me. In my Father's house are many
"I have ample space for you," he says. What a delightful promise
he makes us! We make room for him in our hearts, and he makes
room for us in his house. His house has ample space.
His house has a second blessing:
I have a prepared place for you. "I am going there to prepare
a place for you" (v. 2). A few years back I spent a week speaking at
a church in California. The members of the congregation were
incredible hosts and hostesses. All my meals were lined up, each at
a different house, each house with a full table and at each table wonderful
conversation. But after a few meals, I noticed something
strange. All we ate was salad. I like salad as much as the next guy,
but I prefer it as a warmup to the main act. But everywhere I went,
it was the main act. No meat. No dessert. Just salads.
At first I thought it was a California thing. But finally I had to
ask. The answer confused me. "We were told that you eat nothing
but salads." Well, I quickly corrected them, and wondered how they
had heard such a preposterous distortion. As we traced the trail
back, we determined that a miscommunication had occurred
between our office and theirs.
The hosts meant well, but their information was bad. I'm happy
to say that we corrected the problem and enjoyed some good meat.
I'm even happier to say Jesus won't make the same mistake with
He is doing for you what my California friends did for me. He is
preparing a place. There is a difference, however. He knows exactly
what you need. You needn't worry about getting bored or tired or
weary with seeing the same people or singing the same songs. And
you certainly needn't worry about sitting down to meal after meal
He is preparing the perfect place for you. I love John
MacArthur's definition of eternal life, "Heaven is the perfect place
for people made perfect."
Trust the promises of Christ. "I have ample space for you; I have
a prepared place for you."
And one last commitment from Jesus:
I'm not kidding. "I will come back and take you to be with me
so that you may be where I am going" (v. 3). Can you detect a slight
shift of tone in the last verse? The first sentences are couched in
warmth. "Don't be troubled." "Trust God." "There are many
rooms." There is kindness in these words. But then the tone
changes. Just slightly. The kindness continues but is now spiked
with conviction. "I will come back "
George Tulloch displayed similar determination. In 1996 he led
an expedition to the spot where the Titanic sank in 1912. He and his
crew recovered numerous artifacts, everything from eyeglasses to
jewelry to dishware. In his search, Tulloch realized that a large piece
of the hull had broken from the ship and was resting not far from
the vessel. Tulloch immediately saw the opportunity at hand. Here
was a chance to rescue part of the ship itself.
The team set out to raise the twenty-ton piece of iron and place
it onto the boat. They were successful in lifting it to the surface, but
a storm blew in and the ropes broke and the Atlantic reclaimed her
treasure. Tulloch was forced to retreat and regroup. But before he
left, he did something curious. He descended into the deep and,
with the robotic arm of his submarine, attached a strip of metal to
a section of the hull. On the metal he'd written these words, "I will
come back, George Tulloch."
At first glance, his action is humorous. I mean, it's not like he has
to worry about a lot of people stealing his piece of iron. For one
thing, it's two and one-half miles below the surface of the Atlantic.
For another, well, it's a piece of junk. We wonder why anyone
would be so attracted to it.
Of course one might say the same about you and me. Why would
God go to such efforts to reclaim us? What good are we to him? He
must have his reasons because two thousand years ago, he entered
the murky waters of our world in search of his children. And on all
who will allow him to do so, he lays his claim and tags his name. "I
will come back," he says.
George Tulloch did. Two years later he returned and rescued the
piece of iron.
Jesus will as well. We don't know when he will come for us. We
don't know how he will come for us. And, we really don't even
know why he would come for us. Oh, we have our ideas and opinions.
But most of what we have is faith. Faith that he has ample space
and a prepared place and, at the right time, he will come so that we
can be where he is.
He will do the taking. It's up to us to do the trusting.