Jesus said to his closest disciples on the night of their darkest trouble, “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. … Where I am going you cannot come.” … Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward. … Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. … I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 13:33, 36; 14:1, 3).
Just as forgiveness does not cancel all temporal consequences, so the joy of salvation does not cancel the pain of separation from God and temporary trouble in this world.
This point is well illustrated in the deeply troubled hearts experienced that fateful night. The first cause of the agitation of their souls was owing to imminent separation from Christ. But it was His going away that would bring the definitive cancellation of separation forever! They would not be able to follow Him if He did not depart. They would not be able to stay with Him if He did not leave them. If He departs, only then will they be able to follow. If He leaves them, only then will they be able to remain with Him.
There is a deep lesson in this painful paradox: it is the lesson of faith. It is—owing to the treachery of a sin, the Fall, and its consequences—that sometimes the most troublesome realities that are not only unavoidable but unthinkable to us, serve a greater good in the grand scheme of reality. But only faith can rightly appraise such things. Answers do little to comfort.
Faith embraces the substance of truth that feelings cannot even touch. Faith holds on where feelings have nothing to grasp. Feelings are limited in perception, being anchored to space-time experience; faith is not so constrained. It perceives the imperceptible, sees the unseen, and holds what has no form. Faith is not credulity or an unthinking superstition. Faith is not the answer of ignorance; it is the evidence of heart knowledge.
In the midst of your greatest trial, I pray that you would find comfort in these words of Christ, which are trustworthy and true: “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me” (Jn 14:1).