Grace, mercy, and peace be
yours, from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Our Lord Jesus, the night in
which He was betrayed, tells His disciples (yet again, now in a new way) of His
impending death and resurrection, and foretells of His ascension and promise to
come again to judge the living and the dead.
But the disciples are in a
completely different time-zone from God our Lord. Jesus says “a little while”
and they will not see him, that is, what they dread will come they never want
to arrive. Again in another “little while” they shall see Him again . . . to sorrowing
hearts confronted with the sadness of Jesus absence, a promise to return is
indeed comforting . . . and they desire this joy to be now . . . not in a
It’s the “little while’s” that
are the stumbling blocks to the disciples . . . to our own sinful and fallen
hearts and minds. What we want, we want right now. What we dread we wish away
into the past.
The sufferings of this world are
tempered by the blissful promises of eternity. But we want eternity now and
sufferings never . . . and the “little while’s” of God’s time become a
stumbling block to even the children of God.
Blinded by our sorrow and
sadness . . . we, like the disciples, cannot see the silver lining in the dark
clouds of loneliness, depression, or sickness. God’s Word and promises were
right there in front of the disciples, but their hearts were so heavy they did
not understand what His departure would bring and after hearing the shocking
news that they would not see Jesus for a while they did not have ears to hear
the promises that lie on the far side of suffering in this world.
It is in the enduring of
suffering that we are strengthened . . . in the crucible of these evils
surrounding you . . . that your more-precious-than-gold faith is refined. So
through suffering, which Satan means to undermine our faith . . . instead . . .
Jesus strengthens our faith, even to the point of enduring all sufferings
common to us, taking our infirmities into His own flesh that by His wound you
might be healed. So, through the strengthening of your faith, He works all
things for your good.
Jesus uses the analogy of a
mother giving birth to describe what it is to have the joy of completion drown
out the “little while” of suffering. Indeed all Sons of Adam and Daughters of
Eve have been brought forth in pain. A friend of mine, whose wife’s time is
nearly fulfilled, remarked that pregnancy’s last 40 weeks because only a woman
40 weeks pregnant would look forward to labor. As a guy, I find this somewhat
Jesus’ Words ring true . . . and
He speaks them to you today that you might be comforted as you are in the
travails of this life. It is true that as the child is laid in the mother’s
arms suddenly it all has become worth it, as the life that has been within her
for so long now looks to her for all good things. The suffering she endured is
not even worthy to be compared to the joys she now feels.
As Jesus labored to give birth
to our new beginning . . . to bring forth the Children of God by the blood and
water of the cross . . . He remained focused upon His beloved sheep . . . you
whom He would deliver into the arms of our Father who art in heaven. Jesus
speaks to His disciples . . . even you disciples who are gathered here this day
. . . in terms of Himself. In the resurrection there is no memory of the
suffering . . . only the joy of salvation free and given to all . . . given to
St. Paul, as one intimately
acquainted with suffering, “[considers] that the sufferings of this present
time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” . .
. “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” In
faith, with confidence in the promises of God we patiently hope for the glory
that will soon be revealed to us, that this present time might become even less
than a memory.
These days of patience are
precisely the “little while’s” of which our Lord speaks. These are the last
days and it will only be a “little while” until you see Him again. It may be
an exhausting and arduous “little while” . . . but hang on. Stay as focused as
the mother in the delivery room . . . as Jesus on the cross. And when the days
seem dark and the going gets rough, remember God’s promise in Isaiah 40:
29He gives power to the faint, and to him who has
no might He increases strength. 30Even youths shall faint and be
weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31but they who wait for
the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like
eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah
For the thousand “little
while’s” you experience when it seems as though God is hiding Himself I bring
you the comforting news that Jesus did not die and rise in vain! Jesus lives
as the Lord of all time . . . all our “little while’s” . . . and He promises to
be with you always . . . through all your “little while’s” . . . even to the
end of the age, that is, until He returns and the “little while’s” are replaced
with “now and forever.”
Children of God, that you might
be comforted during these “little while’s” . . . hear the promises of the
“after while’s” the foretaste of which are yours even today. The promise is
that in Jesus you have victory over your sufferings. Fear not the ravages of
sin upon your body . . . it will one day put on the incorruptible and be raised
up without the cancer, without the addiction, without the scars. Slough off
the ridicule and endure the disgraceful actions of others, turning the other
cheek. Open to others the storehouses of blessings that our Father has bestowed
upon you. Suffer no more from the guilt of your past, your sins are forgiven .
. . by Jesus death and resurrection you are a forgiven child of God, an heir of
all the good things of God. And the promise of Jesus is that “No one will take
your joy away from you.”
Rejoice in the victory over your
enemies of sin, death, the devil, and your own sinful nature. Rejoice in all
the good gifts of God. Rejoice because all your sins are forgiven . . . in the
Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. AMEN!
The peace that passes all
understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.