By Dr. James R. Miller
“It is expedient for you that I go away.” – John 16:7
The disciples thought that Christ’s going away would be an irretrievable loss for them. It was the crushing of all their hopes. They thought they would be left in darkness and loneliness; for they had built up all their Messianic hopes on the idea of his remaining and ruling as a king over his people. Not only were they about to lose the dearest friend they had ever known, but they were to lose also the one in whom they had trusted as the promised Deliverer and Savior. They saw no silver lining whatever in the dark cloud that was gathering.
But now Jesus says to them, “It is expedient for you that I go away.” There was a silver lining, after all, in that black cloud. What seemed an irreparable loss would in the end prove a gain. The disciples did not understand it now, but there were the Master’s words for it.
The same is true now in the case of all the Master’s disciples when he calls away their human friends. We can readily see how it is well for our Christian friends when Christ takes them. They exchange earth for heaven, sin and sorrow for holiness and eternal joy. There is no doubt that death is gain for those who depart; but how about those who remain? How about the friends who are left with bleeding hearts to walk on lonely and sad over earth’s ways? This word of Christ applies: “It is expedient for you that I go away.” We cannot understand this; but neither could the disciples understand at the time how Christ’s departure could be better for them than his staying with them would have been. Afterward they knew; and afterward we shall know how even for us the going away of our friends will become a blessing if we in faith submit ourselves to God. “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God.”