How good are you at remembering the finer details of things? Some people are good at recalling a time and a place, perhaps a holiday or visit to a museum, a family celebration, or special occasion somewhere, and they can recollect the minutest of details accurately. I must admit that I am not one of them. I’ve done lots of things and been to numerous places in my life and yet find it hard to bring to mind the event itself, yet alone particular points.
Having said all of that, occasionally I do remember details, and when I do, it makes me realise they have obviously had an impact on me. I heard a sermon over 30 years ago now, and the young preacher spoke about being discombobulated. It is a word that has remained with me, and I often use it now myself.
Discombobulate. To be confused or feel upside down, not knowing which way to turn. I am sure each of us at some time in our life have felt discombobulated. Maybe we have had a marriage breakdown or suffered a bereavement. Perhaps we have had to move home or change our work. Sometimes life is hard, and we feel bewildered and wonder what is going on and how are we going to cope. Nothing makes sense.
We can feel like that spiritually too at times. Why is God allowing this to happen? Why doesn’t God do something? I don’t understand what God wants me to do and so on. We often think like this when we don’t get the answers we want to our prayers. However, we must remember God sees the bigger picture and we need to trust Him and believe that he knows what is best.
There is no doubting that the disciples and early followers of Jesus would at times have been very discombobulated. Think about it for a moment. Jesus had been with them, possibly with some of them since childhood. Then in his 30s at the start of his ministry, the small group of men and women would have spent a lot of time in each other’s company. Eating, talking, sharing, and walking together. The disciples had seen Jesus perform great miracles, healing the sick and raising the dead. They had heard Jesus’ teaching about the love of God and demonstrating a new way of life which treated everyone as equal. All was going so well. Then, this great Master and Teacher had died. He had been crucified. They would be devastated.
Some of the crowd had jeered, “He saved others, why couldn’t he save himself?” and perhaps the disciples thought the same. Had we been there, maybe we would have done so too.
Following on from the death of Christ, his disciples and close friends would wonder what had happened on that first Easter morning, when the women had gone to the garden tomb and found the body of Jesus had gone. Had his body been taken away, and stolen? Had he really died? Questions still asked today all these years later. Then the truth was revealed to the followers. Jesus was alive. He appeared to them. He had risen from the dead! He was with them once more. How wonderful! How amazing! So then, over the next few weeks, Jesus started spending time with them. They met in the upper room, on the beach and beside the lake. It was like old times again. The friends of Jesus would be discombobulated and yet they were filled with joy.
However, it was too good to be true, or so the disciples must have thought. They were all getting used to Jesus being around once more when he then started talking about leaving them yet again.
What!? We can only imagine what they must have been thinking and wondering. Jesus had tried to prepare them with his teachings, but they did not fully understand. Jesus had to leave them and return to his rightful place, beside His Father God, but in John Chapter 14 v 18 Jesus tells his disciples that he will not leave them as orphans, but will send them another, that is a Comforter, a Helper, the Holy Spirit. Whereas Jesus was limited to being in one place at one time, the Holy Spirit would be like the breath of God and would be present everywhere at any time. The Holy Spirit was a gift from God.
This Thursday 18th May, in the life of the church, is what we call Ascension Day. The disciples watched as Jesus, after he had been talking with them, ascended into the clouds, to be with his Father God, leaving the disciples looking upwards. They would no doubt be discombobulated once more.
Amid their confusion, they had to wait and trust, not really knowing what to do. However, as I wrote above, God sees the bigger picture. All would be well. The day of Pentecost was coming. The promised gift of the Holy Spirit was coming. What a day that was. The Spirit of God descending upon his people, resulting in the birth of the Church. But more about that next time.
Friends, whenever you are feeling discombobulated, trust the Lord. Everything will make sense in the end.
21 May 2023