Uncertainty is really hard, especially when so much is at stake.
As I write this, the COVID-19 Pandemic seems to be peaking in some areas, but still climbing in others. Eastern and Western state governors are collaborating to figure out a way forward to open their economies.
But many things are still uncertain. How long will it be? How much can open? What stays closed? How will it impact the overall economy? When will tests and vaccines be ready? HOW WILL IT ALL AFFECT MY LIFE? When will my kids be able to go back to school? When I will be able to go back to work, start up my business? Visit my sick loved ones in the hospital or nursing home?
As reality sets in that this is complicated and may take time, uncertainty and fear can grab at our hearts.
Jesus left us a promise for times like this. He had been telling His disciples He was going to die and leave them. This was not in their plans. They didn’t sign up to follow a dead leader. They were looking for a King; advancement, thrones, forever-security and happiness.
But now, this: death, separation.
Uncertainty gnawed. And uncertainty spawned collective fear.
But Jesus wasn’t afraid. He saw the big picture and gave two anchoring promises: “The future is certain, and I will be with you.”
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”John 14:1-3
In this familiar promise, Jesus was using a Middle Eastern wedding metaphor. A groom would build an apartment on the family home, perhaps one of many, built by other siblings; then go get his beloved to be with him.
Jesus is saying, “I love you more than you know. When I leave, it is to go get our home ready so we can live together forever. You see, there is a greater purpose in my leaving–a purpose of intention and love. The future is very certain, not uncertain. There are some things you didn’t see; but I saw them, and they haven’t caught me by surprise. I love you. Trust my love. Trust my Father’s love. We have a plan–and it is to bring you home to our house.”
Love reassures. There is a plan, created in love.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.John 14:18-20
What Jesus says here is connected to what He said earlier. But it gets less attention, unfortunately. Because it is great news.
He is not only the Ascended Christ who went to heaven to get our home ready. He lives with us and in us through His Spirit.
I love His words: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” We do not have to feel lost, abandoned, alone. Jesus is with us. He really is. He promised. Invisibly, yes; but truly with us through His Spirit.
God is One, and where His Spirit is, there He is too.
In this time of uncertainty, we can place our trust in the living Jesus who is planning for us and dwelling with us. We can believe it, trust Him, welcome Him, rely on Him.
“I will be with you always, even to the end of the world.”Jesus in Matthew 28:20, as He ascended to Heaven