‘Good Byes’ are often painful unless they are not permanent, unless they leave us with some kind of hope.
This week I will officiate at the passing of a fellow I knew years ago, all the while I know a few others who might just pass into eternity themselves. Life can seem so precarious and the task of a ‘good bye’ gut-wrenching, unless there is some hope that the separation is not forever.
This is how it was that night as Jesus ends what has been a tough discussion with his disciples. He has told them he is going to leave them, but that in doing so, he would prepare a place for them to join him one day (John 14.1); he has offered them his peace, totally unlike the world’s, no comparison at all really (John 14.27); he has told them to abide in him and in his love, that keeping his commands is part of that (John 15.9-10); Jesus has told them he would not leave them alone, but would send a Comforter, and Advocate ~ the Holy Spirit (John 14-16), who would guide them into all truth; he has told them there is power in his name and from that day forward, they should activate prayers in his name (John 16.24): he has told them they would face hardship and trouble (John 16.20, 32-33) and more . . . but…
But this is Jesus' 'good bye' that Passover night so long ago - on this, he drops the mic.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
When we have entrusted our lives to him, Jesus has us. He alone is our justifier. Jesus knows how the story ends. He always makes good on his promise to us that he will never leave us or forsake us. And that though our troubles may be overwhelming us, they are not overwhelming him--they are not the end of the story . . . Jesus alone writes the end of our story.
I read this on my Instagram feed today, and it is so apropos:
“We have not overestimated our fears.
We have underestimated the possibility of those
fears being overcome.” Vince Vitale
Vitale, who coauthored a book with Ravi Zacharias called Why Suffering? continues, “Sometimes the fears that burden our souls are too heavy for any of us to carry. Sickness, anxiety, betrayal, guilt, suffering, death. Who can carry those burdens? Who is strong enough and present enough and willing enough? Our need is for someone whose burden is light, someone who is always available, someone who won’t buckle under the weight of the world…”
That someone is Jesus, friend. How perfect are Vitale’s words just now! Reminds me of this verse, Proverbs 15.23-- A person has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word!
So as Jesus ends his conversation with the guys that night, he goes out on hope. 'No matter what, be courageous, take heart, I have overcome the world. Trust me,' Jesus says, 'I know how the story ends. What happens on this earth for you is temporary--you are my child forever, and you will be with me for eternity. Trust me, no matter what happens for you in this world, rest your case with me . . . I’ve got you. Be at peace.'
5/Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for being my God, the one in whom I place my trust. Forgive me of my sins and cleanse me of anything that is not of you. Fill me anew with your Spirit that I might walk in awareness of you and your voice throughout the day. Lord, I lift those I love who are in need of a touch from you - heal them and draw them to yourself. Thank you, Lord, for your good gifts - life, health, salvation, Heaven, hope, love, strength, hope and the precious Word of God.
5/Worship: Peace Be Still, Hope Darst https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsIpGiz3SfQ