Tuesday, January 24, 2023
By Lexi Brooke, Kids Ministry Serve Team Member
“Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” – John 16:22 (The words of Jesus)
Tears streamed down my face as I waved goodbye. I stood in front of my new college dorm and watched my mom drive away. She was leaving me… alone… for months. It took everything in me to not break down completely on the sidewalk. I stumbled up to my dorm room, fell on my bed, and just sobbed. I knew I would see my mom again. But as I laid on my bed, I felt taken over by grief. How was I going to do this?
My reaction to being at college may seem extreme or unwarranted, but what you have to understand is that the years leading up to college were less than great. I almost lost both my parents to health issues. I lost three of my grandparents. My mental health was a disaster. Things at home weren’t great. I had basically no control over any of the hardships going on in my life, except that I was able to be present with my family through it all. Then I had to go to college, and I lost that one piece of control. I was a mess.
What does that have to do with anything? Well, as I look back on this season of hardship, trouble, and fear, I think of John 16. Specifically, when Jesus tells the disciples He is leaving. Hearing that news brought panic to the disciples, and they weren’t sure what he meant. As Jesus told them more plainly what He meant, they began to grieve deeply on top of their fear.
Though the situation is different, I think back to that time when my mom left me. I can feel the sadness, the grief, and most notably, the fear. In that moment, I imagine I felt a little bit like the disciples did hearing Jesus’ news of leaving. There had to be such uncertainty for them with what was going to happen.
The truth is that my mom wasn’t leaving me forever. I knew that. Jesus wasn’t leaving the disciples forever either. He told them that. But fear is real…so real that it led the disciples to grieve deeply. The uncertainty of where Jesus was going, when He would return, and why He had to leave…this all crept into the disciples minds and filled them with worry. What did that mean for them? Who was going to lead them now? In a sense, their comfort was leaving them. That is what I felt.
As I read John 16, I picture my mom saying this to me…“Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (16:22)
Jesus said those words to his disciples. At the time it did not take away their pain or grief, but they were left with a promise. A promise they could hold onto. Jesus would see them again, and they would be filled with joy.
For me, the love my mom has for me is as close to Jesus’ love for us. She loves me deeply. She knew I was grieving, but she also knew I needed this season of change. I needed this season to grow, to have new opportunities, and to meet new people. She knew I would see her again and that joy would come on the other side of this season.
Jesus promises that for us. We will see Him again. And though today might look dark and scary, we can cling to the promise that Jesus is coming back, and there will be great joy then.
“Jesus, I thank you for the promise you made to us. The promise that You are coming back and that we will rejoice. Jesus I pray even in this season of trouble, that I would take heart and remember this promise. Help me to turn to you in my deepest grief and rejoice with you in my greatest joys.”
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.