Jesus isn’t rebuking the disciples in this passage: he knows that their faith is real. But he also knows that their faith is disturbed. The disciples are scattered to their own interests, interests that have nothing to do with Jesus Christ. Their faith isn’t at work in the world in the way it should be.

God allowed the disciples to be scattered for a reason: so that they might develop spiritual grit. After we’ve been perfectly related to God in sanctification, we must learn to apply our faith to the actual stuff of life. Like the disciples, we will be scattered—not geographically, but emotionally. In this state, we will discover what internal death to God’s blessings means. Are we prepared for this experience? It’s not something we choose; it’s a discipline God puts us through. Until we’ve been through this experience, our faith is bolstered up by feelings and by blessings. After we’ve been through it, no matter where God places us, no matter our emotional state, we can praise him that all is well.

“You will leave me all alone” (John 16:32). Have we left Jesus alone because our circumstances are dark? God is never in a hurry. Darkness comes through his sovereign will. If we wait, we’ll see what he’s trying to show us: that we haven’t been interested in him, only in his blessings.

Are we prepared to let God separate us emotionally from his blessings, to scatter us into darkness and desolation? If we let him, spiritual grit will be our reward. Then no trouble great or small will be able to stop us from taking heart: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (v. 33).

Wisdom from Oswald

“I have chosen you” (John 15:16). Keep that note of greatness in your creed. It is not that you have got God, but that He has got you.  My Utmost for His Highest, October 25, 837 R