Not Now, But Later

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” – John 13:7

The setting of this verse is the “last supper.” Jesus and His disciples had gathered one last time before His crucifixion to eat a meal together. And Jesus in His usual fashion had a lesson to teach. Stripping off His outer garments, (or in our vernacular, getting grubby) Jesus began washing the disciples’ dirty feet. They couldn’t believe it … Jesus their Master was doing a servant’s menial job. What WAS Jesus thinking?! Peter even argued with Jesus about the matter before finally relenting and letting Jesus scrub his feet.

Jesus often did things while He was here on earth that contradicted the “norm” and challenged the thinking of the disciples, the Pharisees, the rulers, and the common people. Sometimes, it appeared that everyone was against Him in what He was doing. Yet Jesus relied on the Father to call the shots and followed His lead. His birth, His life, and His death all contained strong “contradictory elements” that often left people wondering, “Lord, what ARE you doing????”

How often have I scratched my head like Peter, (or clenched my fist!) and said, “God, what are you doing?” Whether it relates to circumstances that just seem so contradictory to all that I’ve prayed for, or simply situations that are downright confusing, with God seemingly no-where to be found… I can feel like I just don’t understand! AND I desperately want to understand, because with understanding comes a sense of control.

At moments like this, it is good to remember Jesus’ reply to Peter, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

I love the phrase, “What I am doing!” That tells me Jesus is indeed working now, and His work always works together for good! Honestly, ladies, it really comes down to trusting that God DOES INDEED know what He is doing, and that He knows how to get from point A to point B, even if I don’t see it.

Am I willing to rest and give up control of my situations or way of seeing things to my all-wise, all-loving God? Like Peter, I need to submit to and follow Jesus. His plans are good, acceptable, and perfect, and for now, He wants me to trust His often surprising ways.

One day in the future, perhaps in this life and more certainly in the next, Jesus will reveal His plan more completely to me- sort of like filling in all those missing puzzle pieces. I can relax, trust Him, and go along for the ride, recognizing that “later” He will make the unclear clear. Then I will exclaim, “I see it now! And you are so wonderful, and so thorough, and so wise!”

Dear Lord, thank You that I can trust You and Your perfect ways and plans. Help me when I don’t understand the “why’s” and “when’s,” to trust that You are in control, and that there is a rhyme and reason. Someday- “later,” I will understand. Until then, help me to humbly trust You and give thanks! Amen!