By Lisa Huddleston
“It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Parakletos will not come to you” (John 16:7).
No, Jesus wasn’t promising a parakeet to his followers. I have had a parakeet more than once: Pedro bit my earlobe and wouldn’t let go, and Simon/Simone only loved my husband, dive bombing me whenever she could. Neither experience was a pleasant one. And, yes, I realize how ridiculous the previous sentences are—especially in light of what I really want to discuss. But, my pinball brain tends to bounce sort of like a parakeet too bored in a cage. Up and down. Back and forth.
Today a dear friend called to discuss my previous post and the horrifying tragedy of Newtown, CT. She reminded me as others have that immediately following Jesus’ arrival on earth there was terrible slaughter of innocents. Mothers cried with broken hearts then as now. Fathers helplessly watched as horror unfolded. And Jesus knew their pain.
Why is that a comfort to me? How does it help to know that innocent children have died before and before and before? It should make it worse to know the enormity of the suffering. But it helps me to know that the One suffers with us. Our God is our Parakletos. Our Come-Along-Sider. Our Comforter. Our God-With-Us. We are not alone in our tears. Never are we alone.
Even trapped in a wire cage with gifts of limp parsley and nothing but a mirror to talk to. Bouncing up and down in boredom or rocking back and forth in despair. The Parakletos is here. For our benefit. For our comfort. For our loneliness. To counsel, to protect, to help.