now we get it | John 16:25-33
“I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; or the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.
His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:25-33 | ESV
“My speech has always been filled with metaphors, symbols, stories. The time is coming when I’ll be able to give it to you straight up without similes – insights into my Abba laid right on the table in plain view. That’s when your Abba dialogue will go into high gear as you, standing on the firm ground of who I am, pour out your hearts, your needs, your urgencies to him, and I’m not saying that I’ll put a good word in for you, trying to get my Abba’s attention and stir him to action on your behalf. I won’t and don’t need to. Abba totally digs you because you’ve totally been digging me and have been completely sold on me, trusting my intimate God connection not just with your head, but with heart, hands, and feet!”
Now the eleven disciples spoke in unison: “Yes, now you’re talking! Now you’re giving it to us straight, laying it out on the table – no more dark saying and oblique nuances here! Now we get it! You’re spot on about everything – we don’t need to ask for clarification about anything. And all this straight talk leads us to one undeniable conclusion: Abba is God, and that’s where you came from!”
“So now you get it, do you?” Jesus replied, Gethsemane looming before them in the darkness.
“Look! The hour approaches – no, it’s here now. And each of you will run. You’ll scatter every which way to save your own skin, leaving me quite alone.
But yet, I’m not alone.
My Abba is with me.
And why do I tell you all this? What’s your takeaway here? Peace. Deep, abiding wholeness through your enduring connection with me (no matter how far you run tonight!). This world will crush you – it will stomp you, grind you, pulverize you. No worries, though. I’ve taken the worst the world can throw at me and have bested it. I’ve won.” MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
“Now we get it!”
How often we say it.
Only to turn and see that, once again, the rules have changed, the boundaries have moved, the shapes have shifted.
A few decades ago there was a revived Twilight Zone series that only enjoyed a brief run – but one of the episodes stayed with me. A father gets up and starts his day with his family, as usual, getting ready for work, going through the morning motions of breakfast and coffee, etc. But in those hurried moments of conversation, he hears a nonsensical word thrown into the midst of family conversation. He just shakes his head, figuring he was still groggy or whatever. But then it keeps happening at work. All day. More and more random words that make no sense whatsoever. By the end of the day, he doesn’t understand a word anyone is saying, totally lost in confusion, unable to communicate, unable to function, unable to explain why or even ask for help because they can’t understand him either. The episode ends with the father being taught by his children how to read all over again.
This is that band of disciples in the upper room, on that path to Gethsemane.
So not getting it – but then suddenly seeing it dawn upon them in the darkness. The wonder of epiphany, the glory of insight! No more obscure parable now – no, we see the plain truth! Jesus congratulates them – and then, looking ahead to the garden and cross experience before them, announces, “Great! And now all the rules are about to change. And you will freak, every one of you. It will send you flying in all directions.”
And so it does.
Over and over again it does.
And this is the part where we most need the key takeaway in all of the upheaval and change unfolding around us and in us: peace. Settled wholeness in an unsettled world and existence. It is the key to successfully navigating the winds of change – and the great blessing brought to us through it.
What key insights into God, life, and truth have you gained through your most recent big changes in life? What is your current personal “peace” quotient? Do you experience peace fairly consistently or does it generally elude you? Why?
Lord, thank you for walking me through the changes – big and small, pleasant and painful – in my life. Show me how to more consistently download and experience joy when all the rules change. Let your peace in me be the one thing that doesn’t. Through Christ.