The oncologist had gone to examine the blood samples I had given upon arriving at his office. The 20 minutes that Maria and I sat waiting seemed like an eternity. He finally returned and sat down on his wheeled stool without making eye contact which caused no small amount of alarm. The doctor had a message for us that he did not seem in a hurry to share. We braced for the bad news. Eventually, he looked up at our concerned faces and immediately apologized. His hesitation came, not from what he could tell us, but what he could not. I didn't have cancer but he could not tell me what was causing my seriously debilitating symptoms. In this week's Gospel Jesus holds back some of His news.
Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.
"I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you." John 15:26-27, 16:12-15
Jesus is sharing these words with His disciples on the night He was arrested. They have no idea what awaits Him and themselves in the coming days. The essence of Jesus' message is that the things that are about to happen are necessary. They are not yet ready to hear the bad news. He does tell them the good news. In time His Spirit will come in truth. Jesus clearly states that the Holy Spirit will "declare" what is to come. In that time they will come to understand why everything happened the way it did.
With hindsight, we know that Jesus' promise of the Spirit brings the ability and courage to "declare" His Good News to the world. But the disciples were hearing these words without knowing the rest of the story. They had to wait, just as Maria and I awaited the news of the doctor. The uncertainty was deeply disconcerting. While uncertainty is a part of our journey with God we are blessed to know the rest of the story. Receive the Good News and declare it with the confidence that His Spirit brings. As for me, I am healthy! But you'll have to stay tuned to the Weekly Journey to hear the rest of the story!