Change and transitions are not always easy. But since we live in a world that is constantly changing, it’s something that we must learn to embrace. Changes can be positive such as graduating college, completing military training, or finishing a project. There’s a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. But other times, change is difficult like when a loved-one passes away, a relationship breaks down or sickness occurs in the body. The reality is that change, both positive and negative, is a consistent part of life.
When Jesus was with His disciples for three years, He was training and equipping them for the time when He would no longer be with them. He knew that it was part of His task to be their atonement through sacrifice. This meant that at some point, His physical interaction with them would change, because He was going to be crucified. The Gospels show us that He took the time to prepare them for what was coming:
“But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:5-8)
Jesus also knew that the change in their relationship after He died would bring about something more wonderful than what they were already experiencing. By going on to fulfill His calling, Jesus would be making room for each of the disciples to become filled with His Spirit. This filling was what they needed to become the type of men who could fulfill their own calling. Jesus knew that there would be a time where “sorrow” would fill their hearts, but He is already encouraging them that there are greater things yet to come because of His departure.
I know that when changes that look like a “loss” in the natural take place, there is a time where we feel sorrow. But as we allow God’s will to unfold in our lives, we can take courage that when it comes to His purposes, He is already preparing to do something through our “loss” that we didn’t see possible. As we follow God’s calling on our lives, He is not only blessing those who “go away” He also has a plan and blessing for ‘those who stay.’