“A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They said, “What does he mean by this ‘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, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. (John 16:16-20)
Through Jesus, the Son of God, we have great power as believers. In these verses, first spoken by Jesus on the night of his arrest, to his disciples, he makes several great and precious promises to his disciples and to us, promises that provide hope and light in a dark world.
The first promise we see in our verses for today has to do with the fact that Jesus offers clarity in the midst of confusion. The disciples were, initially, confused when Jesus said to them, on the night before his death: "In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me." The disciples asked each other, "What does he mean?" This was Thursday night. The disciples still did not understand that Jesus was going to die on a cross on Friday, nor did they understand that he would rise again from the dead on Sunday. We who know the story cannot understand how they would be confused, but that is because we know the story. We must remember that the disciples did not know the story. It is often hard to understand a story from the inside, from the middle of it. It is only after you have lived your life story and look back from the end of it that God sometimes gives one clarity and understanding: the meaning of the story.
Jesus' disciples thought they had achieved clarity in the midst of the story, but they had not. After Jesus explained things to them, they said: "Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech."
However, Jesus knew that his disciples had not received full clarity. That is why he said, no doubt with a note of sadness in his voice: "You believe at last!" Jesus knew their faith was going to crumble--their clarity was going to become foggy--the next day when he went to the cross.
It is often in the midst of suffering that we have a difficult time seeing our way clear through life, and that is alright. I know it is not comfortable, but it is alright, because Jesus promises to see us through our suffering, even when we do not see a way through.
When the darkness descends we may not understand why certain things are happening to us, but we can be certain that we have a loving heavenly Father, and a gentle, caring elder brother in Jesus, who will see us through the confusion to final clarity.