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Personal Grief Reduces Our Horizon

John 16:5-6
"Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. (NIV)

Jesus was going away. The disciples did not grasp all that would be involved - with the cross, resurrection and ascension - although Jesus had already told them plainly (Matthew 16:21). All they understood was that Jesus, who had become their life, was going away. What would they do? They would miss Him dreadfully. And if Jesus was killed by the authorities, perhaps they would be as well. In either case, their life would end; or so they thought. Maybe all these possibilities and more passed through their minds. The result was that they were filled with grief.

They were so consumed with themselves that they could not see a bigger horizon. Their thoughts were more about ‘what will happen to us?’ than ‘what glorious purpose is Jesus going to fulfil, and how will He include us in it?’ In fact they were the privileged few whose apostolic appointment would transform the world, by the power of the Spirit, in the Name of Jesus. But all they could see was themselves and what they would lose. They could not perceive how their Master’s departure would enable blessing to come to the world through them. It was not wrong for them to grieve, but grief without God’s revelation and sovereign power is always hopeless.

Whenever our circumstances close in on us, and whenever we anticipate change we cannot understand, humanly we look at our loss and cannot see how God will use it or us for His glory. That is why we, like the disciples, need the Holy Spirit to help us understand that the promises in Scripture are still God’s truth for us today. We need the Holy Spirit to be empowered to use every situation for His glory. Whatever seems a loss to us is often where God pours out His blessing (Malachi 3:10). We must understand that God is at work, whatever grief we may experience or anticipate. He not only comforts us in it, but through it, and also reveals His future plan which is more glorious. So be encouraged!

Dear Lord God. Thank You for knowing everything and working everything together so that blessing comes to Your people and You get the glory. I am sorry that I am so short-sighted when I experience or anticipate loss or change of any kind, thinking about myself and failing to understand that You always have good plans and purposes I cannot see. Please help me to believe that You are always working for the good of those who love You and for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams