The Deep Well with Erin Davis Podcast

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Seeing Jesus in a Little While

Portia Collins: Erin, do you have a “bucket list”?

Erin Davis: I do. It’s very short!

Portia: Okay. So what is your most, “I am so looking forward to this!” thing?

Erin: Well, I even talked about it in this season of The Deep Well. It’s seeing the sequoias. I want to go see the sequoia trees at Sequoia National Park so badly! I know you’re not a nature girl, Portia, that’s not your thing. But do you have a bucket list?

Portia: I do have a bucket list, but I guess you would say the thing that is at the top of my bucket list is seeing Jesus!

Erin: Okay, mine, too.

Portia: Like, I’m going to be that person who is shouting for glory, coming through the gates! Y’all are going to be like, “Yup, that’s Portia. She has arrived!” So I’m excited, because in this episode we’re going to talk about Jesus returning, and it makes my heart so happy!

This is The Deep Well with Erin Davis. I’m Portia Collins. Erin, we have made it to the last episode in this season.

Erin: Unbelievably, we have! And Portia, I have loved having you here with me! Listeners of TheDeep Well podcast will know that we like to put somebody new in that cohost seat for every season, and you’ve been a delight!

I know that you know the Bible is a deep well. I see that in your life, and I’ve loved talking about the Bible with you!

Portia: Thanks, Erin. This is the last episode of our season called “In a Little While.”I know it’s going to bless me, and I know it’s going to bless all of you listening, too. Here’s Erin.

Erin: I love the stage of babyhood when Peek-a-Boo is as funny as it gets! When my babies were about five or six months old, I’d plop ’em in their pumpkin seats, grab a dish towel and say, “Whe-e-re’s Momma? Peek-a-boo!” And I’d get the cutest little baby giggles! 

I have the best little video on my iPhone of Judah, my third born, playing Peek-a-Boo with Ezra, my fourth born. “Whe-e-e-r-e’s Judah?” he’d say over and over. And baby Ezra just looks at him in drooly admiration! It’s one of my treasures!

In this episode of TheDeep Well—the last in this series—we are going to read a story from John 16 that might feel a little bit like a not-so-funny game of Peek-a-Boo. But, you might want to get some tissues handy, because this is a treasure. I promise!

We’ve been opening our Bibles looking for the phrase, “in a little while.” It shows up several times in John chapter 16, verses 16–20. Let me just read verse 16 to you for now, Jesus is speaking. 

In a little while, and you will see me no longer; and again in a little while, and you will see me. (CSB)

Remember, it’s good to take a minute and get the lay of the land. Here, Jesus was talking to the twelve disciples. He was clueing them in on some really important things: like the fact that persecution was coming and that He was going to send the Holy Spirit.

We can tell from reading these verses that they struggled to understand Him . . . which I like! I’ve been a follower of Jesus for twenty-five years. I’ve been devoted to His Word for most of that time, and I know that the Holy Spirit is helping me grow and stretch . . . but I still sometimes struggle to understand what He’s doing or what He’s trying to teach me. 

But we keep dropping our buckets down into the deep well of God’s Word. Let’s do that now. Back to John chapter 16, but this time let’s read a little further.

"A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me." So some of his disciples said to one another, "What is this that he says to us, 'A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me'; and, 'because I am going to the Father'?" So they were saying, "What does he mean by 'a little while'? We do not know what he is talking about." (vv. 16–18)

I love this interaction; I just love it! I love the disciples’ questions. They’re so obvious, and they’re questions that I have: “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about,” they said.

Every time we see “in a little while” in the Bible, we get the sense that God is going to do something, and by His account, it won’t be long now! . . . but it sure seems long to us! And so, Jesus said essentially, “Peek-a-Boo, you’re going to see Me, and then you’re not going to see Me, and then you’re going to see Me again. Be ready, because this is going to happen in a little while.”

I can’t blame the disciples for wanting to know the timeline. I can’t really blame any of us for wanting to know the timeline for what God is going to do in our lives. But He didn’t tell them when—at least, not in the exact date and time kind of way they were probably hoping for. He just said, “a little while.” They wanted to know, “What does ‘a little while’ mean?” Jesus patiently told them. Listen to verses 19–20: 

Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, "Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, 'A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me [again]?' Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy."

I imagine it was still hard to know what He meant. They were asking Him timeline questions, and He was giving them heart answers. But they knew there would be sadness followed by joy. He went on to use the example of a mother in labor, to get His point across.

[He said] “When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” (v. 21)

And then, listen to verse 22; it’s so good! It’s so rich:

“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” 

No one will take your joy from you! That is a gold nugget! I want you to put it in your pocket! Here when Jesus said, “a little while,” He was telling them, “I’m going to die in a little while, but I’m only going to stay in the grave for a little while!” And, again, we see that on God’s trajectory, suffering is just a blip, but joy is expansive!

There are some more “in a little whiles” that come after this account in John 16. Jesus didn’t stay with His disciples after the resurrection, at least not for very long—just a little while. Then He ascended to where He sits right now, at the right hand of the Father.

Before He went, He made a promise to us that sounds a lot like what He told the disciples in John 16. We find those words in John 14. He gave them this promise before He told them He was going away in a little while. Like a parent softening the blow before they tell their kid they’ve got to go away on a business trip. 

At my house we like the Daniel Tiger song, Grown Ups Come Back.” That is what Jesus was doing in John 14. He was telling them some news that would soften the news that He had to go away for a little while. Jesus told His disciples (and we are Jesus’s disciples), “I am coming back for You!”

John chapter 14, verses 1–3:

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

He was here for a little while. He was dead for a little while. He ascended to prepare a place for us . . . and He will come back for us, His bride, His children, His beloved . . . and it will only take a little while. But I’m choking up, because it doesn’t feel like a little while, does it?

And 2 Peter chapter 3, verse 4 talks about that feeling: It says, 

They will say, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation." 

But we’ve learned something in this series, I hope, that “slow” to us is not “slow” to God! 

My husband Jason likes to say that “He’s a paper towel roll God.” He created time, but He’s not bound by it. He holds all of human history up like a paper towel roll. He looks at it from end to end!” We already learned that with God, “One day is [like] a thousand years, and a thousand years [like] one day.” That comes from 2 Peter 3:8. 

If we keep reading right there, at that same spot in our Bibles, verses 9–10, we see, 

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

The Day of the Lord is coming! All of the “in a little whiles” in Scripture point toward it. All of history is moving toward that moment! If it takes another hour or another millennium,we can know that Christ’s return is imminent! And we can know that God’s timing is infused with grace, and that Jesus will be back for us “in a little while”!

But what if He doesn’t come back in our lifetime? I can’t help but think that the disciples thought He was going to come back in theirs . . .and He didn’t. So, what if He doesn’t come back in our lifetime? Well, it doesn’t really change the end of our story, because, where are the disciples now? They’re with Jesus.

He meant what He said: “In a little while and you will see Me no longer, and again in a little while, you will see Me.” Though they did not hear the final trumpet blast, they did see Jesus again; He was waiting for them . . . and it was only a little while! And we will see Him.

At the time we are recording this teaching, I am forty-one years old, which means I am half a century away, at a maximum, from seeing Jesus face to face! First Corinthians 13:12 promises,

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

Earlier in that same letter, Paul wrote, 

What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Cor. 2:9)

We’ve never seen anything like it; we’ve never heard anything like it! The most creative minds in the world have never imagined anything like what it’s going to be like for the people of God “in a little while.”

Paul was beaten, he was imprisoned, he was executed for his faith in Jesus. And do you know what I think he’d tell us? “Well, that only lasted a little while, and before I knew it, I could see Jesus again!”

Though it’s not soon enough for my taste, the fifty years plus or minus I have before I see Jesus, it really is only a little while. I just have a little while to accomplish the purpose He has for me on this earth. I just have a little while to know and love His Word. I just have a little while to serve and delight in His Church. 

Every day moves me closer, and every day moves you closer. If you are listening to this, you are less than a hundred years from seeing Jesus! Time really does fly. We will see Him--whether through death or through His return--in a little while.

So as we say “good-bye” in this season, I want that phrase, “in a little while,” to move past your ears. As you’ve been listening to this series, let it move past your brain, where you know “in a little while” is in your Bible, and you have a new sense of what it means.

Let it move past your heart, where I hope you’ve been strengthened that, if you trust the heart of God, you can trust the timing of God. Let that sink into the very marrow of your bones, the very foundation of your life. Jesus is coming back for us! And we can ask the disciples’ question: “What does He mean by ‘a little while’?”

But even if we don’t understand His answer, we can rest in His Word. “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” (John 16:22) Maranatha! “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20)

Portia: Erin has been reminding us of the hope that we have in Jesus. This is the final teaching in this season of The Deep Well, called “In a Little While.”If you missed any of the episodes, you can find them at ReviveOurHearts.com/TheDeepWell. It’s also where you can check out past seasons of The Deep Well. You can also hear it by subscribing to wherever you get your podcasts.

Erin Unscripted

Portia: Erin, your teaching throughout this entire series has been a blessing, but I have really, really been blessed by this last episode. There’s something that you said that really stuck with me, and I kind of want to zoom in on it. You said that we are less than one-hundred years from seeing Jesus. I don’t think that I have ever dealt with the weight of that or the thought of that.

I am less than a hundred years from seeing my Savior face to face! Like, how does that make you feel? Just tell me more!

Erin: I heard a story once (and I can’t even tell you where I heard this or who it is, so you’ll have to fill in the details with your own imagination). It was a terminally ill man who was very close to his own death. And the person telling me the story had gone to visit him, and this terminally ill man was fasting and praying.

And the man that went to visit him said, “You’re dying! Why would you be fasting?” 

And the dying man said, “I am very close to seeing my Savior face to face, and I want to make this time count!” 

And it sticks with me.

I’m not terminally ill that I know of (there could be something in my body right now that I’m not aware of), but I’m on the same trajectory as that man was. Aging has this effect, maybe, on everybody. I’m far from old; I’m in my early forties. But I do have an awareness that I’m getting ever closer to seeing Jesus face to face. 

I have no fear about that. I praise God that I have no fear about that! That’s His work in my life. But I do know I’m close to seeing Him. I’m less than a hundred years from seeing Him, because I’m forty-one, so I’m not going to live to a hundred-and-forty-one. So there’s an urgency in me, there’s an expectancy in me, there’s an excitement in me. I’m going to be with Him . . . soon!

It really is “in a little while,” in the perspective of human history. And for everybody that’s listening, it’s just a little while.

Portia: Just a little while. So, I have a confession: I used to have this crazy fear of death. I think it was more of a fear of the unknown, like, “What is it going to feel like? What am I going to see?”I felt so shaky; there wasn’t really an assurance of salvation. I would literally freak out at the thought of death.

But now, there is such a comfort when I think about dying, simply because of what you said: I will literally see my Savior face to face! Ten years ago if you had told me I’m less than a hundred years from dying, I probably would have had a panic attack right there. 

But now that is framed so differently for me. I’m less than a hundred years from seeing my Jesus, from sitting at His feet, from being able to talk to Him!

Erin: And being with Him forever and ever and ever and ever! That’s so soon!

Portia: Yes!. . .in a little while. Erin, I’m fortunate to be able to see you as you’re teaching this, and I could see your tears and just hear your voice filled with so much emotion, teaching through that last part. I would love to hear more. What was going through your mind? Where did those tears come from?

Erin: Yes. To those who are listening, we had to try over and over to get that ending, because I couldn’t get through it. That was genuine emotion. Portia, you know I’m not a very emotive person; I’m mostly “head,” not a lot of “heart.” But when I think about Jesus coming back, it is like all of my hope is in that basket!

You know the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” well all of my eggs are in that basket. That is where all of my hope is! If Jesus is not coming back, it’s hopeless. But He is coming back! And so, that’s not just some happy idea for some day, that I don’t think is actually going to happen.

It’s not a bedtime story; it’s not a security blanket. It’s real! The Bible says it’s real, it’s going to happen. That moment when Jesus returns is everything all of us are longing for! It is the restoration of peace. It is rest for our souls. It is the end of wickedness and wars and corrupt government. It is the end of cancer. It is everything we’re longing for and everything we’re hoping for! 

I tear up because I want it so badly. I want it so badly to be in my lifetime. When I think about the fact that the return of Christ might not be in my lifetime, that’s unbearable to me! I want to see Jesus return. I do!

I want to see Him. I want to be a part of that moment that all of history is pushing us towards . . . not just because it’s going to be a big moment—it’s going to be the biggest of moments!—but because it means the end of all suffering, the end of all evil, the end of all sin, the end of all darkness. 

We will go to that New Heaven and the New Earth. There will be no sun, because Jesus Himself will be our Light. I long for it more every day!

Portia: If you enjoyed this podcast and hearing this kind of conversation, I encourage you to check out the Grounded podcast. You can join us live every Monday morning at 9 a.m. Eastern. Just subscribe to the Revive Our Hearts YouTube channel.

Erin: And if you want to hear the podcast version, go to ReviveOurHearts.com/Grounded.

The Deep Well is a podcast from Revive Our Hearts, calling women to freedom, fullness and fruitfulness in Christ!

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

About the Teacher

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

About the Host

Portia Collins

Portia Collins

Portia Collins is a Christian Bible teacher and writer/blogger who enjoys studying and teaching Scripture.  Portia is the founder of "She Shall Be Called" (SSBC), a women’s ministry centered on helping women understand and embrace true biblical womanhood through solid study of God's Word. To learn more about SSBC, visit www.sheshallbecalled.com.  Portia and her husband, Mikhail, have a daughter and currently live in the Mississippi Delta.