March 27, 2020
All DayCategory: Lenten Devotional
Just When You Think You Understand...
“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”
“Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone.
Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me” (John 16:25-32).
Jesus admits he has been speaking figuratively, but the time for that is ending. What a relief for the disciples who have struggled so often to understand what Jesus wants to communicate! Furthermore, Jesus reiterates that soon they will even have a direct relationship with God so that they can ask him for their needs in Jesus’ name. No need for a human priest making sacrifices in the Temple day after day. Jesus will soon be the Mediator of the New Covenant. And to make things even more amazing, Jesus reassures his disciples that, because of their love for him, God the Father loves them. But then that haunting phrase again: “I am … going back to the Father.” The understanding the disciples have gained is still so limited – Jesus knows that they do not understand the plan of his impending death and resurrection as they will all abandon him and he will face the cross alone.
The Bible shows us again and again through the lives recorded therein that God’s plans normally are not the same as the plans of men. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts; his purposes are so much higher. I have often felt called to do something, have experienced God’s equipping to serve in a certain ministry. Then suddenly, a disruptive moment comes and I realise that my time for that work is ending. One of the most recent disruptive moments was when my husband was called off the mission field to return to Switzerland. My first thoughts were: “Why have I invested so much of my time and energy into learning the Thai language and culture and of what use will I be in Switzerland where I don’t know any Thais?” Well, God is certainly answering those questions bit by bit, but in his own timing.
May I suggest that, if you find yourself with a whole bagful of (as yet) unanswered questions (as I did in March 2018):
- ask them, but then fix your eyes on Jesus, who is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
- read about the ancients in Hebrews 11, the obstacles they faced and what they overcame by faith.
- ask God to help you roll up your sleeves and do wholeheartedly whatever he has called you to do.
- don’t shrink back because you have questions or don’t fully understand.
- ask for God’s help and move forward by his grace.
Prayer: Dear Father, thank you that you communicate what you want us to know in your perfect time. Thank you for the faith to move forward only by your leading. Amen