“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” John 16:12
In Jesus’ teaching about the Holy Spirit being sent (and himself being taken away) he tells his disciples that there are things he cannot tell them. Not because Jesus doesn’t know, but because they cannot “bear it”.
The disciples were not ready to hear everything. They would not be able to comprehend Jesus’ words. Jesus’ words would have been beyond them (at least at that moment).
However, Jesus tells them that the Spirit of Truth would come, and He would guide them with truth, into truth.
In this promise we have basis of the authority of the apostolic writings (that the revelation of Christ would come through his disciples by the work of the Holy Spirit). However, with these words, there seems to be another area of application for finite pilgrims who often have no idea what is around the next corner.
God is all-knowing. He is infinitely wise and his knowledge is the same–infinite.
Out of mercy, He chooses not to reveal everything to me. In His grace, he withholds information because I for one, cannot bear it.
He knows that about me. It really is grace that I am in the dark, that I have no, and see no answers. God in his mercy tells me when I need to know, but no sooner.
However, since my context is not the same as the disciples (as I hold the full canon of Scripture in my hands) there are other angles to this question as well.
Even at times when I don’t know what God is doing (through the messy circumstances around me) — what do I do with what I “do” know?
How will this turn out? How hard will it be? How long is this trial going to last? What is around the corner? How long must I suffer? Why the pain? What good will come out of this?
Those are questions that we all ask. Those are questions that I ask.
Reading through John 16 though, I’m wondering if a question that I should ask my heart is this: is my struggle because of a lack of information? Or, can I instead be strengthened with the Spirit of Truth (with the revelation that I do have in God’s Word) even when I lack certain information?
God has chosen (for reasons that only He knows) to not reveal everything to me at this time. I think he knows that even that “information” that I want, is not even what I really need.
I am realizing more and more that my assurance, strength, and comfort, can really only be found in God. Not in me knowing why, when, for what, when will, what if, what for, and on and on.
It’t not information that I need (in suffering, trials, pain, etc), it’s God.
So Father, help me, change me, open my eyes not to some new revelation, but to the revelation that you’ve already provided through the Spirit of Truth!
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way.” (Psalm 46:1–2)
A present help in trouble…help me to believe in what I “do” know!
Whatever comes to pass has been determined by you! Including the heap of ruins, like you say so in Isaiah…
Have you not heard
that I determined it long ago?
I planned from days of old
what now I bring to pass,
that you should make fortified cities
crash into heaps of ruins. (Isaiah 37:26)
You call into existence the things that do not exist, like you say so in Romans…
I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. (Romans 4:17)
Like the pain of trials and suffering, not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from the Father’s will…
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. (Matthew 10:29)
Nothing is too hard for You (even the healing of broken hearts)…
Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. (Jeremiah 32:17)
These are not promises that we get to chant to chase our problems away or protect us from all hardships…these are promises that God will not, does not, change in how great and mighty he is, how loving and righteous he is, how merciful and faithful he is.
I may be perplexed by the lack of answers or the unbearable loss that comes from suffering, but I can know what He has told me…about himself!
Oh, Lord! I needed to hear this morning that you, in your mercy, do not tell me all things. But you have told me enough about yourself to strengthen my heart! Thank you that you know my weaknesses, and yet love me and continue to show my each day who you are. Each day, because I am that weak, because I need you that much!!