Hold Firm for a “Little While”.

Thursday of 6th Week of Easter
Acts 18:1-8; John 16: 16-20
Dc. Larry Brockman

“You will grieve, but your grief will become joy.” Such were the words that Jesus spoke to his disciples. They just didn’t understand what the “little while’s” meant in his words to them.

These men had been through it all with Jesus. Now that he had risen, they expected him to stay with them so that things would be the same as they had been during his earthly life and ministry. Or even better, that they would be part of some worldly conquest restoring the Jewish nation. But that wasn’t what Jesus meant to do at all. After all the breakdown of scripture he did for them, after all the time he spent with them, they still didn’t get it- that this life was not what it is all about.

Indeed, Jesus words apply to all of us today too. It will seem that Jesus is not with us, particularly when the world closes in on us with its skepticism, cynicism, doubt, and persecution of our true Faith- and especially when we get close to death. That will cause us to grieve; but our grief can be turned to joy if we hold firm to the end in our belief, our faith and follow the Gospel path in Jesus footsteps.

I visit a local hospital twice a week to help the chaplain. I visit a lot of folks there who are facing death. Some of them have been suddenly plucked from the mainstream of life and now face an uncertain future in this world- a heart attack, a stroke, a cancer diagnosis- or any of a number of other surprises. And it is clear that many of them are scared- scared of infirmity or death.

Even many of those who profess to believe are scared of death. They are in the middle of that “little while” where it seems God has abandoned them. Many can only think about what they will be missing if they die- their children, their activities, their retirement; as if these things are the whole meaning of their life. To be sure, many are concerned about leaving loved ones vulnerable, a sense of duty, as well. Indeed many of these folks are preoccupied with the world at a time when they should be getting closer to God. Some are even angry with God rather than working to get closer to Him.
Now I bring all this up because we are a people who like to be in control. We like to plan everything in our lives. We plan for our education, for employment, for marriages, for child rearing, for entertainment, and for retirement.

Well how many of us plan for our real future, everlasting life? Because after we pass on, we have this wonderful hope for the future, one that is guaranteed for those who believe and practice their faith. It is an everlasting life in heaven with God and with all of those who love him.

Have you ever thought about what that would be like? Have you planned for it? Because, you see, if you think about earthly situations where we hold grudges, don’t forgive, avoid certain kinds of people, and work for our own benefit to the exclusion of others, well, it certainly won’t and can’t be like that in heaven, can it?

So, take advantage of today’s wake-up call by Jesus. Take some time to plan for the ultimate future. It may require some changes in your daily life. Then you will be ready for the future in a little while when Jesus will be with all of us again- all of us. And our grief will turn to joy.


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