A Little While, and Again a Little While

“‘A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.’ So some of his disciples said to one another, ‘What is this that he says to us, “A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me”; and, “because I am going to the Father”?’  So they were saying, ‘What does he mean by “a little while”? We do not know what he is talking about.’ Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, ‘Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, “A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me”? Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you… 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 16:16-22,33

“Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5

One of the hardest things about Easter season is the waiting, the anticipation of the agony. This side of the cross we know what the disciples had yet to experience- the horror of their Teacher’s betrayal, scourging, mocking, and crucifixion. We know how the story ends, but they did not, or at least could not understand the “little whiles” of which Jesus spoke. How would they weep and lament, and then rejoice? And why?

How kind of our Lord Jesus to prepare these men He loved so much, as much as He could with their limited view, just as He does us. We cannot foresee the whole future, or know the details of upcoming trouble and suffering, but we have been told that we will have tribulation, and in it, to take heart. The disciples did not comprehend “I have overcome the world, but we do! We know that Jesus rose from the grave, and that He vanquished sin and death, and one day will vanquish the enemy of our souls forever. Christ’s peace that passes all human understanding is ours for the choosing, able to guard our hearts and minds. (1 Corinthians 15:54-57; Philippians 4:6-7; Revelation 20:7-10)

Remember, for every little while we are enduring, we are passing through to another while. In the Lord’s economy of time, He uses every moment to bring about his redemption and ultimate glory. We see now in a mirror dimly, but the longer we look, and the longer we live, we are closer to that day when we will see Him face to face. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

My loving Lord, help me choose peace in each little while You bring and I endure. When I cannot understand, help me to trust, and look forward to the ultimate joy of seeing You face to face. (Hebrews 12:2-3)

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