Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
— Psalm 51:12
“But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
“All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
— John 16:5–15
In John 16, Jesus is telling his disciples that he is leaving them but not to be sad because he is sending an advocate to them. He says it is actually better for them than if he is there with them in the flesh.
I can understand what it must have been like for them to hear their leader, their friend, and their pastor tell them that he will leave them. They must have felt heartbreak, disappointment, and disbelief. They probably wondered if the past three years had been worth it at all. Without knowing what was to come, they might have asked what the point of all of this was?
They were in for a surprise when the Holy Spirit showed up. Before his ascent, God was with them in the form of Jesus. And suddenly, after facing the pain of his departure, they knew what it meant that God was with them.
The Christian life is hard! Salvation is a beautiful gift, but sanctification, the process of becoming Christ-like, is really hard.
It’s not easy making choices that are not what you want because doing so is more Godly. It’s not easy to, as Christ says, take up your cross and follow him. Often it may even feel like too heavy of a weight to carry. The good news is that this is not a process we endure on our own. We have the Holy Spirit! He is living in us, guiding us, giving us strength. And not only that, but he is in other believers, encouraging them to advocate for us, help us, and pray for us. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, is sustaining you and giving you a willingness to endure every day.
Be encouraged today. The Holy Spirit is with you to make you more like Christ.