Trading in My Separation Anxiety

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God and also in me. 2In my Father’s house there are many rooms. If it was not so, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will receive you to myself, so that where I am, you may be also.            John 14:1-3 (HN)

– Henry Neufeld

Jesus addressed these words to his disciples shortly before he was to go to the cross. The disciples were anxious about what would happen, and what separation would mean. They weren’t sure how to take it and whether they could be confident that they would rejoin their master again.

But these words are also addressed to each one of us, and to us as the body of Christ in the world. We live in a state of tension. We’re separated from Jesus, yet we have a task to do here. We want to be with him, yet we have to live here. We know he’s with us, but that doesn’t quite seem like the same thing. We can talk to him through prayer, but again, that’s not like having him here.

I can compare this from being separated from family members, but especially children and grandchildren. Our children live in Texas and Arizona. We do not get together very much. We look forward when they are able to visit. There’s some tensions for me in getting everything ready, but mostly there’s an anticipation of having them here. I wish they came more often. I can talk to them on the phone, I get regular pictures, I know they’re alright, but it’s not the same thing as having them here.
What can give us joy in our Christian lives, however, is the knowledge that we can trust Jesus to do as he has promised. If we trust that he is preparing a place, and that he will come again, things will be different. Having a date when I expect the children to be here is nice. I know when it will happen, and that gives me confidence.

I don’t know when Jesus will be here, but I do have confidence in him that just as he said he will come again. I have confidence that one of those many rooms is set aside for me.

The separation is hard, but the hope is great.

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