“Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.” (John 13:7)
This statement by Jesus Christ was in reference to something happening then that would be more fully understood at a later date. But the principle is true for many things in life, especially for the man or woman for whom Jesus Christ is Lord of his or her life. Romans 8:28 corroborates this: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” The qualifiers are “thou knowest not now,” and “all things work together.” In other words, there is much in life that seemingly cannot be rationalized at the time, but have a yet to be revealed purpose. I heard a good illustration of this today.
One of the over-eighty ladies in our water aerobics group told us that as a five-year old child she had one of her arms mangled when it was caught in the rollers of a wringer washing machine. The damage was so severe that the doctor wanted to take the arm, but her mother would not permit it. As it was, she forced to wear a steel cast on her little arm for six months. It was her right arm that was affected, so when she went back to school, she was forced to use her left hand during those long months. The end of it was that she became, and is to this day, ambidextrous. And the odd thing is that when it was suggested that it must have been very painful, she admitted, “Actually, I don’t remember the pain.”
How many of us can look back on heartaches—even tragedies—in our lives and realize now that they were used by God to make us more agile and resourceful—ambidextrous, if you will—for Him. Better equipped to address other trials in our own lives and the lives of others. We know, too, from the Psalmist that those who suffer affliction have unique insight into God’s Word (Psl.119:71).
One of the most precious Christian ladies I know lies in a hospital bed in Florida at this hour trying to fight off a bone infection in her leg that already cost her most of the other one. She has lived with paralysis and pain for many, many years and is probably the most spiritually “ambidextrous” person I know. She has lived long enough now to experience the “hereafter” of which Jesus spoke in our text.
It is possible, as any woman who had given birth knows, to go from great pain to great joy, when we are finally able to hold the end result of that pain in our arms (Jno.16:21). And I can look back on painful, heartbreaking experiences that I lived through in my life, and because of the spiritual insight and deeper fellowship with God that they spawned, say in all honesty, “It’s hard to remember the pain then because of the joy now.”