"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." (John 14:1)

Why would their 'hearts be troubled'?

Jesus is saying this to his disciples as he is explaining that he will be leaving the physical world and returning to the spiritual realm:
"My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come." (John 13:33)
This caused his followers great concern because their spiritual teacher was leaving them. This is an expected response from serious students who have come to rely upon the instructions of their spiritual teacher.

Yet Jesus is clarifying to them that they can continue to follow him. He is giving them the instructions by which they can continue growing in their spiritual lives, and stay connected with him. He is giving them the instructions by which they can continue to develop their loving relationship with the Supreme Being.

Why is 'trust' so important to Jesus?

Jesus tells them clearly to trust in the Supreme Being: "Trust in God". And he follows that by instructing them to trust in him as well.

The word "trust" is being translated from the Greek word πιστεύω (pisteuō), which means, according to the lexicon, "to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in," and of course "to trust in."

To trust in a peer typically means to believe in what they may say or do. It also means that we can rely on them to be truthful about something, or rely on them to do what they say they will do.

But to trust in the Supreme Being communicates this along with something greater: It means to be able to depend on and rely upon God to the point where we can give our lives to the Supreme Being, and have confidence that the Supreme Being will always look after us, take care of us, and will always have our best interests in mind. It means to take refuge in the Supreme Being.

This contrasts greatly with the trust that we can put upon a peer, who does not have the power nor the perfection of the Supreme Being. God's children were created with the freedom of love and the ability to make mistakes. And we indeed make plenty of mistakes. This is because we are not God. We are not perfect. We are subject to making mistakes. Therefore, we cannot be completely reliant on another person. We can make mistakes. Even if we intend well, we can let someone down.

Also, we do not have the power and the authority of the Supreme Being. We are not in control. We might each have a small amount of control over our own choices, but we cannot control everything. Therefore, while we might trust another person to be honest, we cannot rely upon them in terms of always taking care of us.

This is an issue in many relationships of this world. Two people may get together and begin to feel love for one another. They begin to trust each other. Then they begin to say stuff like "I'll always be there for you," and "I will take care of you."

We can certainly appreciate an intention to take care of us. But the other person does not have the ability to take care of us in all situations. Nor can they control what might happen. This is because they are not God. They cannot control the weather. They cannot control sickness, disease, and death. 

But we can trust that the Supreme Being will take care of us, as Jesus promises here. Jesus is telling his disciples to trust in God because he knows that God will take care of them. He knows that God loves them and has their best interests at heart.

Many people do not believe this. Many, in fact, will question God's existence.

Can we 'trust in God'?

But through it all, if we trust in God, and we trust in the teachings of Jesus (which tell us to trust in God), then we will be relying upon the Supreme Being, and He will always take care of us.

In fact, God will take care of us regardless of whether we trust Him or not. He loves us unconditionally. He cares for us even if we blaspheme Him.

But if we follow Jesus' teachings, and we trust in the Supreme Being, we meet a different fate. We begin to return to our original relationship with the Supreme Being. Trust is a thing that takes place between two individuals. For there to be trust, there must be the trustor and the trustee. A trustor is a person who trusts or relies upon the trustee. This means that there is a relationship between the two: A relationship of trust.

If we follow Jesus' teaching and we trust God, we begin to re-develop our original trusting, dependent relationship with Him. In the spiritual realm, everyone is dependent upon the Supreme Being. And as a result, everyone is fulfilled and happy, because they enjoy a loving, trusting relationship with the Perfect Person.

We can resume our dependent spiritual relationship with the Supreme Being simply by trusting Him. We can trust that no matter what situation our temporary physical body is in, He is trying to teach us something that will benefit us. We can trust that we will come away from this temporary situation knowing more about ourselves and about life than we had before. 

We can trust that ultimately, the lessons we learn will help bring us back to Him, because that is the only thing that will truly make us happy - and the Supreme Being wants us to be happy.

Should we 'surrender to Jesus'?

Some teachers instruct their followers to "surrender to Jesus." What do they mean by this? Their teaching is that if we surrender to Jesus, we will be saved.

They are right, but not necessarily in the manner they teach. They are teaching surrender to Jesus in an isolated way. They are forgetting about the Supreme Being. When Jesus says "trust also in me" the word "also" is the key operator. The word "also" is translated from the Greek word καί (kai), which, according to Thayer's Lexicon, is "copulative." 

"Copulative" means the word connects the phrase following to the previous phrase; in this case, "Trust in God". Thus Jesus is saying that trusting in Jesus must be connected to trusting in God.

This is also clarified in Jesus' other teachings. To "surrender" to someone means to follow their instructions. In this statement, Jesus is instructing us to trust in the Supreme Being. 

Therefore, his instruction is that we actually need to rely upon and become dependent upon the Supreme Being - the same Supreme Being that Jesus relies upon and is dependent upon.

Jesus also instructed his students to do God's will. This service to God is connected to Jesus' ultimate instruction - which we must follow if we truly trust Jesus:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)

If God exists, why is there so much suffering?

For those who question whether there is a God, most of this doubt comes from the observation of suffering in this world.

The question posed is sometimes stated as, "If God exists, why are so many suffering?"

This is also asked about children because children are considered innocent: Why do children suffer?

The answer is not adequately answered by ecclesiastical Christian teachers. This is because they do not know. They stumble to answer this question because they do not know the answer.

The answer lies in knowing our real identity. Most of us think we are these physical bodies. Yet our physical body is a changing and temporary vehicle. Science now knows that the atoms and molecules making up our bodies are constantly recycling. Within five years we have a completely different body on. It is like looking at a waterfall: Its water is always changing.

We can look at the body we wore when we were a baby. That is not the same body we occupy today. It was a different body.

Therefore, we know, not only scientifically, but from teachings passed down for thousands of years that we are not these physical bodies. We are spiritual persons who are temporarily occupying physical bodies.

We have come to occupy these physical bodies because we were booted out of the spiritual realm. The spiritual realm is a place of humble love, where its citizens care for the Supreme Being and God's children more than themselves. But since we also have freedom (and love requires freedom), some of us chose a different path. We chose to be self-centered rather than loving God-centered.

Here we were given the opportunity to exercise our desires, but in a virtual realm that was set up by the Supreme Being to also function as a place of learning: A rehabilitation center of sorts.

Who suffers in a video game?

We might compare the physical world and this temporary body to playing a video game. A person can sit down at a computer, pick a game icon, and begin playing the game. The video game will have certain rules that the player must play by. The video game icon will undergo various tests, and may be shot at, beat up or crash. Sometimes the icon might be blown up and the game is over.

However, regardless of the results of the video game and whether the game icon is hurt or killed, we can still turn off the computer and walk away from the video game unscathed.

This can be compared to the physical world. Our bodies are not us. They are like virtual icons that we occupy while we are here. But like a well-designed game that draws us in, the physical world tricks us into thinking that we are these physical bodies. That even though the body is constantly changing, we identify with it, thinking that it is us.

This also means that the various sufferings that occur in and around our body do not actually affect the real person within: the spiritual self. At the time of death, each of us will leave our physical body behind, like the video game, unscathed.

This does not mean we do not take away the lessons we learn while here. Just like the video game player who walks away from the computer remembering the experience of the game and even learning its lessons - which is why people who repeatedly play the same game will continually get better - we leave our physical body with the lessons learned during our physical lifetimes.

Does a video icon suffer?

So as we consider the original question - regarding the suffering that exists in the physical world - we can know that the sufferings of the virtual physical world do not happen to us. They happen to a virtual avatar or icon - a temporary physical body - that we wear for a while.

In a computer game, say a video war game where icons get blown up, does the video gamer get blown up when his icon gets blown up? No. Does the video gamer get hurt when his icon gets punched or otherwise harmed in the video game? No.

Blaming the Supreme Being for this world might thus be compared to a gamer blaming the company or programmer who created the video game when their icon gets blown up in the game. It would be nonsensical because the gamer is fine. There is no harm to the gamer when the icon in the game gets blown up or punched for example.

In the same way, the spirit-person - the soul - is not harmed when the body is harmed. The spirit-person leaves the body fully intact. The soul leaves with some learning experiences, but is otherwise unharmed.

Like the video game, this physical world and this temporary physical body will dissolve at some point, and we will leave it. It is like driving a car. We get in the car, drive it for a while, and then get out.

And even though we may identify with our car (as most people do) we will eventually get out of that car. Even if the car has become severely dented up and the engine stops working, we can still get out of the car unscathed.

What we take away from the physical world are our learning experiences. Just as most video games are programmed to teach certain skills which the player can get better at, the physical world is also programmed to teach.

Is this about consequences?

Most video games are also programmed with consequences. In a car driving video game, for example, if we don't steer correctly or go too fast around the turns our car will crash. After we crash a few times we learn to steer better and slow down around the turns. Even though our game icon might have "died" several times before, we can always keep trying and keep learning more and more until we perfect the skill.

The virtual physical world is the same. Here, when we make mistakes, the body might suffer consequences, but we can learn from those mistakes.

For example, let's say that we walk into a room of people and we want to have fun. So we bring in a squirt gun and begin squirting people with water, getting them wet. At some point, someone gets angry. After we keep spraying people, someone punches us in the face.

Our eye becomes blackened, and we feel pain from being punched. We learned several important lessons (hopefully). We hopefully learned that we should also consider others when we are trying to have fun. We should be attentive about how our actions affect others.

Within a week or two, the black eye and any pain associated with being punched will be gone. What is left are the lessons we learned about the situation. We hopefully have learned an important lesson: we are not the center of the universe.

This is only one lesson of millions that a person will learn in a lifetime. But if we carefully examine the lessons the physical world teaches, we find that most are set up to teach us to lighten up about ourselves, and to care more about others. They are set up to teach us about humility and love.

When we consider any video game, we naturally consider the game's purpose. Is it to teach us to play better tennis? To drive a car better? While most video games are programmed with the purpose of having fun, most games also uniquely teach some kind of skill. And it is learning this skill that interests gamers - even if the skill is how to point and shoot better.

While playing, we can typically see a game's purpose by experiencing its rules and consequences. In the physical world, we can see that the purpose of this "game" is to become better people: To learn to love again, and care for others, and ultimately - if we graduate from this "level" - to learn to love the Supreme Being again.

So as our temporary physical body is taken through a variety of experiences, we can know that we will eventually leave the body unscathed - taking with us only the learning these experiences gave us. Whether we become the President of the United States or spend our life in jail, we still leave the body the same way. We will still leave the physical world only with those learning experiences.

We will leave everything else behind. We will leave all our possessions, and all our money (or lack thereof). We will leave our positions, our fame, our reputations, our credit score, our family, our pet, and our name behind. We will also leave all the suffering of this body behind: 

All of its diseases, tumors, dysfunctions and vulnerabilities. It will all dissolve as quickly as a video game dissolves when the computer is turned off.

Once the computer is turned off, the video gamer must now face reality. This is like when the body dies.

When the body dies, all the material stuff that we care about will dissolve. Then we must face the reality of what we've learned during our venture into the physical world. We must face our spiritual growth. We must face whether we have learned to love and care for others while we were in this world. We must face whether we have grown closer to God.

We must face whether we have taken the time to develop our relationship with God, and whether we trust Him.