"I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you."
John 16:12-15 NIV
In this passage, Jesus wants the disciples to look at His crucifixion differently than their saddened emotions have let them. Jesus wants them to understand that His physical departure is a gift that pushes them to be carriers and conduits for the Holy Spirit. Jesus has been encouraging them all along with teachings and examples.
Jesus wanted to trust His disciples with more. He wanted to trust them with divine revelation, knowledge, and vision. He wanted to tell them more about the connection that his death would have to the salvation of the world. However, the disciples couldn’t handle the weight of it at that time. The disciples’ emotional turmoil would have prevented them from truly receiving anything that Jesus would have given them.
The issue was that the disciples had a weak spiritual immune system. Jesus’ prescription for this was to give them a gift: to walk and work with the disciples at their own pace. This gift precedes the Holy Spirit. Jesus couldn’t have given the disciples the Holy Spirit at this point.
When Jesus says “I have… more than you can bear,” He chose to walk at their pace, and allowed the gift of the Holy Spirit to administer that knowledge at the correct pace. Then, the disciples could come to a place where they could handle more.
As Christians, we want to hear whatever God has to say to us. Whatever He wants to do through us, we want to do. Jesus’ statement, “I have… more than you can bear” is not an indictment, but it is a call towards more. Jesus has provided us the tools to acquire that knowledge and revelation: the Holy Spirit.
Jesus understands that our emotions are real. No matter where we are in terms of our emotional growth, the pain that we feel is real. So, we have to accept that sometimes where we are is not the right time for us to accept new revelation. That doesn’t, however, mean that there is nothing more to come. God has more for us, but in order to get us to the correct place, we have to walk with Jesus.
Each one of us is at a different spiritual place. Each one of us emotes life differently. This mandates that in certain seasons we can’t handle much more of anything good or bad. God understands that. Our spirituality doesn’t mandate that we all run life at the same pace. We can’t all carry the same weight at the same time.
We cannot beat ourselves up for following life at our own pace. We cannot let other peoples’ expectations become our expectations of ourselves. If we try to outpace ourselves and God’s pace for our lives, we may find ourselves choking at an altitude that we were not supposed to occupy. Instead, we need to trust in God and the Holy Spirit that He is guiding us and pacing our lives to grow.