The Hole in the Whole
Advanced planning isn’t a bad thing. But it might be a little presumptuous since I have no idea what might happen tomorrow let alone where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing next year.
Perhaps that is why John records these fascinating words in John 13:1: “Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father.” John was writing this after the events. At the time of the Passover supper he, like all the others, didn’t really understand what was going to happen over the next few days of their lives. They may have had plans but I’d guess those plans didn’t include a crucifixion even though the Lord had announced it so many times.
Later, looking back at what had happened, John could write what was in his Master’s mind: “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God” (13:3).
But what John didn’t know until later, Jesus knew in advance. For Jesus it wasn’t a matter of faith to believe that He had come from His Father and was now about to return to His Father—He knew.
We believe that tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or next year, we will do this, that, or the other. We sometimes add “if it’s the Lord’s will” to our plan but we still gamely go on even when we don’t have any indication if that plan is the Lord’s will at all. That’s okay, especially, as a friend often reminds me, we are willing to take “no” as an answer if our plans don't coincide with His.
But what I like best about the thoughts John shared is the “hole” or the “whole” depending on how you want to look at it. Jesus knew the beginning, the end, and all the details in-between. We don’t know the details, the “in-between” of our lives. We have a “hole” that gradually gets filled with those details. We can only later go back and do an “aha” as we look at how God led us along the way.
There is one thing that we can share with Christ. As believers we do know the beginning of the story and its end. Unlike Him we take it by faith, but still we know the “whole” that surrounds the “hole” that we don’t know. We know that God made us for Himself, that we come from God in the sense that He created us in our mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139:13, 14). We also know that, as believers, we will one day return to our Creator to be with Him and look on all His glory (John 3:16, Revelation 7:9, 10). That’s our “whole.” We may not know, as the Lord knew, what happens in the middle. We still have to say as we make our plans, “if the Lord wills.”
In the end, the “hole” in the middle of our beginning and end is only a blip on the radar of eternity. Jesus could speak, serve and suffer with total peace and commitment because He knew Who He was, where He had come from, and where He was going.
And because of Him, and the absolute certainty of the promise He has given to us, we can do the same.