Imagine this: someone you love has just told you that they are going to die, and die soon. Imagine that this person has just done you a great favour. Imagine that the reason that this person is going to die has something to do with another friend in the group who has been selfish and willful. Then imagine that this same person tells you that you will deny knowing them before everything is said and done. Would this not be stressful? Would you not get all wound up? Is it possible that if you were experiencing all this loss and this grief that you might think your world is coming at the seams? Would you not want a personal leaning post?
The Gospel this week (John 14.1-14) provides us with an opportunity to look at Jesus as just that – a personal leaning post. At the Last Supper, Jesus talks to his friends and disciples about what is ahead: the betrayal, the arrest, trials and crucifixion. He remains them that they are going to follow him through and they are going to come out together. He commands them, to overcome the fear and consternation while learning to continually trust and place faith in God and to love God and neighbour. Jesus insists that we learn to, in the living of our lives, not be shaken to the core but rather to calm and quiet ourselves because there is still life to be lived and God is with us in it all.
All that is happening and going on in the world at this moment are the preparations for the feast that is to come in the kingdom of God. It is hard and scary to watch the things that are going on in the world. But this is why Christ is with us and within us through the Spirit. We can lean on Christ in a number of ways. And you might be sitting there thinking, “Religion is just a crutch.” But I have to ask you, “When you are lame, hurting and walking funny, is that bad thing?”
We are asked to lean on Christ and to put our trust and faith in him. Faith is being sure of things that we hope for and being sure of what we cannot see (Hebrews 11.1). It is what those great men and women of faith did – what they had and all they needed was their faith in God. And if you need convincing, have a look at Hebrews 11 and 12. Look at all that those people did over time by trusting God, in good times and in bad. To recognize that we are going to die the deaths that Jesus died and rise in the resurrections Jesus lives in on a daily basis. Or as St. Paul would have it, “I die daily.” (1st Corinthians 15.31)
We need to constantly be learning to lean on God through prayer so that we might be fruitful and faithful in our ministries for the Church and the kingdom. And I would not worry so much about the words I use as I would about sharing with God what you are thinking and feeling about what’s in front of you. The Spirit can help with this – to communicate the things that we need to communicate and enable us to be faithful in doing so.
We need to rust God for his word and his promises because he is always makes good on his promises. We can trust him and his word. We do need to show some patience though. Scripture is replete with examples of having to learn to wait on the Lord for his will and his timing because they are perfect. Plus we need to remember the words of St. Paul who said to the Church in Rome, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8.28-30)
In other words, can you imagine a life where you are not only expected to be but also a life that you have been called and destined to and that your life and ministry are being used as a part of the wider life of the kingdom in eternity?
Learn to lean on the Lord’s side. He will give you strength to carry on. He will give you guidance to move you forward. The Lord awaits you that he might supply you with what you need to bring glory to him. Are you ready to risk some trouble and in the process find out what you really believe and where you actually put your trust? Are you ready to put your trust in God and wing it? Can you imagine that?