Now, But Not Yet
Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:22
As young college student at Concordia in Seward, I remember the Biblical studies courses helping me to explore God’s Word with much greater depth than confirmation had allowed. One of the concepts which had always been part of the preaching and catechesis of my childhood, but never fully explained what the idea of “Now, But Not Yet.” Through baptism and absolution, God’s Word and the Lord’s Supper, God has given forgiveness, life, and salvation. Where there is faith, which clings to promise of God’s Word, there is eternal life, now. But the fullness of the eternal life that Christ came to bring has not yet been delivered.
In John chapters 14-17, Jesus tells the disciples of His impending ascension, but promises them that they will not be abandoned by sending them the Holy Spirit. In this long discourse, Jesus speaks about life looks like between the ascension and His second coming. This is certainly a time of grief. Warfare, violence, pestilence, and disease run rampant across the globe. The Church and those who serve face opposition and contempt as we show mercy and bear witness to Christ. At times we struggle to see where God is in all of this chaos and confusion.
Yet, Christ assures the disciples of every age. “I will see you again and you will rejoice.” As Job confessed, we will indeed see our Redeemer in the flesh with our own eyes. In the resurrection on the Last Day, our Lord Jesus Christ will make all things new and the time of grief will pass away. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. Our songs of grief and lament will be replaced with songs of rejoicing as the saints of God lift their voices in praise of the One who died and rose again, who ascended to the Father’s right hand, and who will come again in glory.
We have this assurance now, but we do not yet see Jesus with our eyes. But no one can take away this promise from us and that is why we rejoice in this time between the Ascension and His second coming. We know that we will see Him and that we rejoice in Him in the new heavens and the new earth eternally.
Prayer – O God, You make the minds of Your faithful to be of one will. Grant that we may love what You have commanded and desire what you promise, that among the many changes of this world our hearts may be fixed where true joys are found; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan