“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:25-27).
It’s time. Grab the suitcase that has been sitting by the nightstand for two weeks. Grab the newly purchased car seat and the still clean, still organized diaper bag with the tags still attached. Walk the expectant mother to the car. Drive her to the hospital. Once in the delivery room, she labors; she pushes. A healthy baby girl!
The next 48 hours are fantastic. Doctors and nurses. Monitors and call buttons. But, with one wheelchair ride outside, all those things come to a sudden and abrupt halt. Strapped snuggly in her car seat, the newborn cries the whole way home. Sitting on the couch, holding their helpless newborn, these new parents look at each other and say, “Now what?”
In his Word, God provides all the advice, all the direction, and all the guidance we need for each of those “now what” moments.
Butterflies flap wildly in their stomachs as they realize they are on their own. No live-in doctors. No in-home nurses. No more monitors. No more call buttons. How will they know what to do? Nervous. Anxious. Full of questions. Now what?
That’s when her mother shows up. What a reassuring presence she is! What a calming influence she is!
The disciples’ fears
Can we appreciate the disciples’ overwhelming sense of “now what” as Jesus ascended and left them behind? He had prepared them for this. The night before his death, on the way to the Garden of Gethsemane, he told them that soon he would be with them no longer. They witnessed so much. His arrest. His trial. His crucifixion. His burial. And then 40 days so they were sure he had risen. But now what? He’s leaving? Again?
Yes. He was taken up before their very eyes. The clouds hid him from their sight. They were once again alone. Ten days later, however, the Holy Spirit showed up, just as promised, in spectacular fashion! What a reassuring presence he was! What a calming influence he was! The Comforter. The Counselor. It all made sense. He explained everything to them, just as Jesus had said he would.
Our “now what” moments
Now what? Maybe you are expecting a child, or maybe you just brought home a new bundle of joy. Did you just graduate from high school or college? Now what? Maybe your children are the ones who just graduated. Maybe they are moving out. Maybe they are getting married. Now what? Or is it something else? A visit to the doctor. A diagnosis. A surgery. A treatment plan. Life is full of “now what” moments, none bigger than when we wrestle with our own sin and guilt—all those worries, doubts, and fears. Now what?
What did Jesus promise you? What did Jesus give you? The same things he promised—the same things he gave—his disciples during their “now what” moments! The One who lived for us, the One who died for us, the One who rose for us sends us the very same Holy Spirit in his Word and sacraments. There, in the gospel, we find peace, forgiveness, comfort, and hope. In his Word, God provides all the advice, all the direction, and all the guidance we need for each of those “now what” moments of life.
Author: Stephen Helwig
Volume 109, Number 06
Issue: June 2022