You and I live daily within an external—and internal—clash of two worldviews. This is the exact tension within which Jesus himself ministered during his earthly tenure. There is the worldview we might call Materialism, which even Jesus’ followers can’t seem to keep themselves away from and in which the entire unbelieving world continues to swim. And then there’s the worldview of Christianity. So many of the disciples’ problems arise from confusing the worldview of Christianity with the worldview of materialism. And so many of our problems arise from also confusing these worldviews. It’s one reason why taking verses such as John 16:23–24 out of context can be so appealing, even though we’re not doing it intentionally. . . .
“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
John 16:23-24 NKJV
Materialism offers circumstantial experiences and temporary things to satisfy superficial desires. Christianity offers the glory of Christ to satisfy the eternal void inside of our souls.
The problem with the materialistic worldview is that it doesn’t go deep enough. We’re all searching for happiness, but Jesus is offering a deep, bottomless, abounding, everlasting well of forever-joy.
Like the disciples, many times we think we’re treasuring Jesus but we only see the Jesus we want to see, the Jesus we want him to be. He knows that when we face the prospect of immense sadness—
as did the disciples in the three days of his crucifixion and burial—we may be undone with confusion and pain.
Jesus knows that his followers have to endure a very difficult life in this expansion of his mission since his ascension. They are threatened, accused, exiled, in some cases tortured, and in many cases executed for their faith.
But he makes them a promise. He makes them a promise that is far greater than earthly rewards and earthly successes. . . .
The pain is a promise.
One day our tears not only will be wiped away but will turn to eternal joy. He will trade our ashes for beauty. Every single hurt we endure will be turned to joy for His glory.
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”
Mark 8:36 NKJV