“Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” 17 At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18 They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.” John 16.16-18
If you’ve ever been confused about understanding God’s will for your life you are in good company. The disciples, who heard these instructions directly from the lips of Jesus, were confused. They could not discern what Jesus meant when he said, “in a little while you will see me no more, and then after a while you will see me.”
We know exactly what he meant because we are on the other side of the promise. Just as we could go back and tell Moses not to worry, Abraham to trust more, Joshua to just take the land, Mary to accept the deal of birthing the Messiah, and Paul to trust the blindness, so we’d tell the disciples to follow Jesus. As we stand on the other side of each of these promises, God remains faithful.
The disciples, just like us, struggle to believe, to see and to understand. Those who think they know exactly the will of the Lord (beyond the obvious of reconciling the world to himself) are fooling themselves. The day to day details of God’s plan for us is still in the dark. I don’t know any more how he is going to guide me precisely then the disciples understood Jesus’ “I’m leaving…but now I’m coming back” speech.
How do we live with such ambiguity? How do we take steps in faith toward a God who has given us the big picture but the details are missing? Of course some would say I am foolish but I would ask those “where will you be in a year?” “What is God going to do in your life in a week?” “How can you know his plans if you are walking in the darkness?”
The reality for us, as it was the for the disciples, we walk by faith and not by site. They didn’t know what would transpire with Jesus even though he explained things pretty clearly. Nor do we know what tomorrow brings. The important factor is we do know this — God loves us and has a plan for our lives. He doesn’t always reveal the details of our life plans but he does reveal himself. He sends his Holy Spirit to guide us, comfort us and speak to us. When we take time to listen, he reveals his ways, his Word and his wonders to his people.
The important thing to remember is that we are people who live on the other side of the promise. What does that mean? It means that God is who he said he is and he’s already done what he said he will do. His interaction with his people in the Bible is how he will interact with us. If you love him, serve him, trust him with your heart and place your faith in his hands, he will absolutely guide your next steps regardless of your blindness.
So we trust. We hope. We love. We live. We thank God for this day and trust him with the next.
“O Lord God, you are good. I praise you for the power of the cross to redeem me. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for loving me and for making a home for me in heaven. This life is short but so special. In it we are able to come to know you, to live and move and have our being. Thank you for filling us with the power of your Holy Spirit and directing our steps each day. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen