John 16: 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I love all of John chapter 16. I can so relate to the disciples feelings of fear, grief, and confusion. First Jesus tells them they may be put to death. Then he tells them he has to leave them, and yet they shouldn’t worry, because they will be receiving an Advocate. I’m sure they were wondering, what is an Advocate? Then he tells them again that he will leave them and they will be filled with grief. But later, he tells them he will return to them and they will rejoice. At the end of all these seemingly contradictory statements, he basically says to them: I’ve got this! In me you will have peace! Take heart!
Recently I have felt the same fear and confusion. It has become necessary for me to start receiving Medicaid. This will possibly mean moving into a different facility and definitely into a shared room. I will have to start over in teaching people how to care for me; how to use my wheelchair; how to position me in the bed; and so much more. And it always feels so humiliating when I have a new caregiver that has to bathe me, dress me, feed me, and just get to know my routine.
Despite all of these worries, Jesus tells me I need to take heart. Easier said than done. I have to admit that I am no spiritual giant, and sometimes I prefer just to cower in the corner. Sometimes I prefer to not talk to anyone but to spend sleepless nights thinking the worst. I was smart enough this week to ask my close friends and family to begin praying. We are praying that my next move will put me in a place where I can feel purposeful and productive. We are praying for caretakers who are respectful and caring.
John 16:22 Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
This passage fills my heart with faith. It tells me there will be times of grief. There will be times of uncertainty. There will be times of heartache. There will be times when we feel like Jesus has left us. There will be times of deferred hope. And yet, joy will come. And no one, I MEAN NO ONE, will take that joy away. And the most important part of this passage is the call to pray. To pray about anything and everything that is weighing down on your heart. And your joy will be complete.