My most painful times of growth were not physical but rather emotional. I enjoyed being a child. I found life to be an adventure and I thought I had the most perfect family possible. Well almost perfect, my older brother was hard to take, but then again, he was always of with his mates getting into trouble, so my time with him was fortunately limited.
I remember well the winter of 1965, I was ten years old and enjoying playing football, I was captain of the School second team, Gilligan’s Island and McHale’s Navy were big hits on the TV and we were beginning to discover Chinese food from a new Take Away Shop in Sunshine.
Then one night my perfect world came crashing down. I had not long been in bed that night when all hell broke loose in the lounge room. I could not hear everything and what I heard just did not seem to make sense. The next day my Mum explained to me that my sister was pregnant. Being the youngest child in the family and the youngest kid in the street, pregnancy was not something I had ever really observed before. Sure my Aunty in New Zealand kept having babies (8 in all) and Mum and Dad used to say they bred like rabbits, but seriously this was all new to me.
In the space of three short months, I had gone from blissful ignorance to suddenly knowing that things like birds and bees could really cause family problems. December 18th rolled around. It was supposed to be a happy day, well at least that is what everyone said. My sister was getting married that day. For some reason, I could not smile. I sat on the back doorstep hugging the family dog, pouring out my heart to her.
Over the years, I have often struggled with change. It is truly hard to let go of the past, especially when that past was a happy time in our lives. Yet without that letting go, we cannot receive the next part of God’s blessings for our lives.
On the night that Jesus was betrayed, the Disciples struggled with the things Jesus was telling them. Life was good, they were walking the hills of Judea and Samaria with the Son of God. Oh! We would all love just even one day of their great adventure. But now change was being abruptly thrust upon them. In John 16:6, Jesus even comments on the shock and horror they were feeling. He says to them, “But because I have said these things to you, your hearts are full of grief.”
In fact, there would be no let-up in sight. The next 24 hours were brutal. They had gone from lounging through the Last Supper, blissfully ignorant of what was about to happen, into a world of chaos and heartbreak. How hard it would be to watch anyone die on a cross, but they watched their best friend. They were broken and without hope.
Yet Jesus had said to them, “But I tell you the truth, IT IS FOR YOUR BENEFIT, that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you, but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” John 16:7 (emphasis mine).
When Jesus spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit, He was predicting the Day of Pentecost. For the word used that we translate as ‘coming’, speaks of an event, or an advent. It is a specific one-time occurrence, that was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost when God poured out His Holy Spirit.
Without the events of the weeks leading up to Pentecost, which include the arrest, crucifixion, and burial of Jesus, there would be no Church and our world would be lost and without hope.
To embrace the blessings of God, we must release the treasures of yesterday. And remember, the best is yet to come.