Too Much to Bear

  • Jeff Crotts
plant growing

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now (John 16:12).

Question: “When will this pandemic season end?”  We truly do not know.  Our President could order tighter restrictions confining us even more to our homes.  Or, we could be cut loose, right back into the market place.  From where I sit, either extreme directive could be very positive or very negative or both.  Outcomes could be a relief or catastrophic.    

Instead of offering some kind of prediction, let’s draw the attention to simple potent words Jesus said to his disciples.  On the eve of his death, after Passover, Jesus and his closest friends were walking to the Garden.  On their journey, Jesus continued to convey heavyhearted things to his same companions.  He had told them he was leaving.  Predicted Peter’s three denials.  All while Judas was selling him out.  Jesus had every logical excuse to tailspin in personal doubt and self-pity but instead chose to encourage. So, between the upper room and Gethsemane, Jesus built up his disciples, preparing them for life after he was gone.

For any important meeting, the last thing someone says is usually the most important thing.  Whatever Jesus was teaching his friends this final night was without a doubt, mission critical.  Summarizing three straight years of instruction, he nailed down what was indispensable to their success. 

That said; see Jesus’ sudden shining ray of compassion flood into this heavyhearted brood.  Loading his disciples with thoughts feeling like full rucksacks, he takes a pause.  “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12).  I could say so much more about what is about to happen but I am stopping.  Hearing more would be too much.  Crushing.    

I assume you like me feel uncertain about which way the world’s virus will trend.  Perhaps the big question really boils down to what philosophy our country will take to address it.  Will things ease off or tighten up?  Easier life or harder life?  Being honest with ourselves, we do not know.  Jesus’ comforting words give us timely focus.  Perhaps the reason we are not supposed to know what happens tomorrow is actually a way that Jesus protects us.  We do not need to worry about tomorrow.  Why?  Because knowing tomorrow’s hardships right now, would be too much to bear.  So, we leave tomorrow for Jesus to bear.

Successful people regularly quip, “I never would have taken a certain task in life if I knew the cost I would end up paying to see it through.”  Christians have been promised more than challenges and hardships ahead.  Like Jesus’ disciples, we too are promised the help of the Holy Spirit who will “guide us in all truth” (cf. John 16:13).