Can You Bear It?


Can You Bear It?

Josh Stothers

John 16:12

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

Recently a friend shared with me a new insight into this bIble text. I don’t think I’ve ever really noticed what this verse brings to to the table concerning so many things. How could I spend so long reading the bible (and particularly the book of John, as it’s one of my favourites) and yet have never realised that this verse is powerful?

How could something written 2000ish years ago contain something that a Pastor with a Bachelors Degree in Theology wasn’t ready for and that he couldn’t bear?

Well the answer is in the verse. I guess I may not have been able to bear the magnitude of what it was saying, put simply, I wasn’t ready for it. 

How could something written 2000ish years ago contain something that a Pastor with a Bachelors Degree in Theology wasn’t ready for and that he couldn’t bear?

I guess God has a lot to say and what He has to say isn’t always easy for us to handle.
There’s a certain weight that comes with following Jesus so it’s a good thing He says it’s easy and His burden light (Matthew 11:28-30). I can’t help but think that this is because he bears it along with us and hides us from things we aren’t ready to see like a parent shielding their child from the things we deal with as adults like tax time, church politics and the fact that no one actually gets money for doing chores around the house when you’re grown up. What is wrong with this world!? It’s almost like He custom builds the journey we’re on depending on our strength and relationship with Him. 

This is exactly why you can’t get angry at yourself for understandings and revelations you didn’t have before. The old way we kept our faith can be laughable when we compare it to the way we do things now. It can be down right embarrassing when we look at our past selves and that’s ok. I still cringe when I think about how I acted in my first year of college and that so much of that was based on my (then) views of God. 

I could not have bore then what God has for me now. This is what makes our journey with God so exciting! Just like going to the gym and progressing through weight racks as you gain strength and technique to handle it. 

So lets’ take this concept to the next level. What happens when we stop progressing through the weight rack and stay on the weight we are comfortable with? To put it another way, what happens when we stop allowing God to reveal new things to us and stay just where we are comfortable?

Our faith becomes weak and we find ourselves unable to bear the weight of everyday life. The rapid pace of the world becomes too fast for our slow, old and frail faith to keep up with. 

This is something I dread.

I am scared it has happened to too many people and I’m scared it has even happened to our church as a whole.

I’m scared we aren’t constantly seeking God and opening our hearts to the new things he wants us to carry today and beyond. 

Thankfully we have something that is meant to stop this. We have our 28 Fundamentals which, to many of you, seems to be the exact opposite of a solution and would create more of a problem than to help with this right!? Well if they’re read wrong then yes, they probably feel like your spiritual life is a bike trying to ride through a pool full of peanut butter. If read correctly though, they can be a freeing experience! Like riding a bike… normally? 

It all comes down to the opening statement. It’s almost like a secret fundamental at the beginning. It reads like this:

Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as their only creed and hold certain fundamental beliefs to be the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. These beliefs, as set forth here, constitute the church’s understanding and expression of the teaching of Scripture. Revision of these statements may be expected at a General Conference Session when the church is led by the Holy Spirit to a fuller understanding of Bible truth or finds better language in which to express the teachings of God’s Holy Word.

Preface to ‘Seventh-day Adventists Believe’

I know it’s a little wordy and seems a bit overly formal, but when read right we see that as a church these beliefs are just an expression of our current journey as a church. They are subject to change and constant revision because we are lead by the Holy Spirit. We have to always be looking out for what God has next for us to bear and sometimes it isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s really hard. In the end it is always good because He wait until we are ready. 

God still has many things to say, so let’s listen


Josh Stothers lives in New Zealand with his wife Danelle and their cats Nora & Sonny.