What Do You Believe About Difficult Times?
So, what do you believe about difficult times?
Your answer determines how you will survive them and who you will be on the other side.
strong enough to overcome the challenge of difficult times?
smart enough to outmaneuver the confusion?
faithful enough to hold yourself together?
If these questions have triggered heart palpitations, take a calming breath. You are not alone.
Focus on the disciples and allow yourself to be drawn into John 16’s unfolding scene of a most difficult of time . . .
The supper is over, the sun has set, time is short.
This will be the last conversation Jesus has with His disciples before His arrest. There are fears to calm, questions to answer, difficult news to give . . . and difficult news to receive – super difficult.
Jesus must die, and after His death His followers will suffer persecution. Super difficult news, indeed.
The disciples must be terrified.
This can’t be happening.
They’re not ready.
Darkness falls, tensions mount, and emotions run wild.
Everything they thought they had figured out about Jesus, themselves, and life is flipped upside down and shaken inside out.
Life on the road with the Son of God ends like this?
How is that possible?
What was it all for?
The difficult news is too much to take in. Just. Too. Much.
Now shift your focus to Jesus.
There is no condemnation. He does not respond, “Where’s your faith? I’ve been trying to tell you this for weeks. Man up!”
Instead He speaks with compassionate understanding:
“I know that hearing news like this is overwhelming and sad; I can see that sorrow has taken possession of your heart.” (v6)
I love that about Him. In our difficult times Jesus recognizes the emotions that have taken possession of our hearts and He validates our feelings. He soothes our fragile souls:
“I know you feel . . .
fearful, sad, isolated. . .
frustrated, confused, distressed . . .
anxious, exhausted, overwhelmed . . .”
God “gets” us.
What good news.
I can be myself.
But maybe it’s not all about me and my feelings . . . or the disciples and theirs.
I picture some sniffling, tissue dabbing, and nodding heads right up until the moment Jesus utters the next four words. For a sacred second the earth ceases to rotate, the heavens open wide, and these four words echo with piercing clarity in the silence of the universe,
“But the truth is . . .”
“But the truth is that My going away is for your good; after I depart, I will send the Holy Spirit to help you.” (v7)
Terrified that they may soon be swept away by the roaring tide of difficult times, “But the truth is” stops the disciples’ terror in its tracks and commands their attention. Their hearts, desperate for understanding and reassurance, must gasp,“What is the truth, Jesus?”
I hear His invitation to them, and to us, to receive and believe this refreshing truth about difficult times:
But the truth is . . .
Things are not as they seem.
There is purpose in your circumstances.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit you will thrive and bloom in difficult times.
See you next week for Part 2 of this series: What Do You Believe About God’s Activity in Your Life?