In A Little WhileJonathan Cho
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​​Song: In A Little While

by Jonathan Cho

VERSE 1

In a little while
You’ll see the darkness fall
You’ll wonder where I’ve gone and
When I’ll come
In a little while


VERSE 2
In a little while
You’ll see the storm descend
My friend it’s not the end
The clouds will clear
In a little while


CHORUS
You will sing your songs
When the pain is past
Paint the streets with joy
for the grief’s not meant to last


VERSE 3
In a little while
You’ll see a crack of light
a hope burn clear and bright
a door made open  
In a little while

 

CHORUS

You will sing your songs

When the pain is past

Paint the streets with joy

for the grief’s not meant to last

(trouble isn’t meant to last)


VERSE 4
For a little while
You’ll wait, you’ll pine, you’ll long
But your redemption songs
will be made whole
In a little while

 

Songwriter's Reflections

Oftentimes, we use the phrase “in a little while” to remind ourselves of something that is about to take place soon. In our human finiteness, we can only comprehend that “a little while” refers to minutes, hours or a few days. We use this phrase when we have some perspective on the wait - when it seems short compared to the entirety of what we are anticipating.

When Jesus uses the phrase “in a little while” in John 16:16-24, He may not have been thinking of minutes or hours. Yes He did resurrect and reappear to His disciples shortly after His death, but He soon left again, telling us that He will return. As we now know, our wait for His return has spanned years, even centuries. And we are still eagerly waiting.

Against this backdrop, I wrote this song wondering why Jesus would use the phrase “in a little while” if He knew it would likely be much longer. As He hinted elsewhere, He knew that we would face much trouble in this World in HIs absence. Why tell us ‘soon’ if it isn’t just a matter of minutes or hours? And what do we do as we wait? How should we live, amidst the pain, suffering and injustice of the World as we wait? Perhaps Jesus knew all this this. If so, what is He telling us about how we should live as we wait in eager expectation of His return?

Even as we yearn for His return to make all things right again, we are reminded by His other parables to ready ourselves - the Master is returning (very) soon! How would we want to found waiting when He finally arrives? Will we be found waiting and yearning in such a heavenly manner that we are of no earthly use? Or will we continue to be His hands and feet in this World, stemming pain, healing suffering and speaking against injustice as we wait?

May we be wise as we live in this ‘in-between’ - the ‘now but not yet’ Kingdom of God - where He remains sovereign and at work, even though His tangible absence is sorely felt. We remain expectant and hopeful, for our grief will soon be turned into joy. And when He does return, all will be made whole and good again. Soon, and very soon.

So let us put our hands to action but let it also be our encouragement that in Jesus’ eyes, this wait - though long in human terms - is but “a little while” in light of the glory and eternity that we shall live in with Him, when He finally returns for us.

 

Scripture

John 16:16-24; Matthew 25:1-13; Luke 12:35-48

"16 ... 'A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 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’?'"

- John 16:16-17 (ESV)

About the Songwriter
 

Jonathan is a story-teller at heart. He loves to witness the transformation that takes place in the lives he encounters,  especially when such change is inspired by the stories that he tells. One of his joys is in exploring the different forms through which stories can be told – whether through advocacy in his professional life as a lawyer, or as a musician, songwriter, and speaker.

He is Husband to Dorea and they have 2 lovely children, Zoey (3) & Isaac (1). They worship at Bethesda Frankel Estate Church where he serves as an elder and as the head of the Youth ministry. Jonathan volunteers with Awaken Generation (AG) as a songwriting mentor and member of the AG board of advisors, and is also a board member with YWAM SG (Youth With A Mission) and the Bethesda Katong Kindergarten.

Some of his music and tunes can be found on Spotify and Soundcloud.

Jonathan Cho headshot.jpeg

 

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Visual: Hoping

by HAGAR Singapore

HAGAR is an international NGO and a registered charity in Singapore committed to the recovery and economic empowerment of women and children who have survived the trauma of human trafficking, slavery and abuse. We do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to restore a broken life. Since 1994, HAGAR has supported more than 40,000 women and children survivors from Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam and Afghanistan.

In Singapore, HAGAR helps trafficking survivors and exploited foreign domestic workers on their recovery journey, empowering them to regain dignity, build resilience and skills to start a whole new life. Beyond supporting survivors, HAGAR also works to strengthen existing prevention efforts through collaborative partnerships with the government, civil society and the private sector to effectively combat human trafficking and exploitation issues locally and globally.

 

woman looking out hagar.jpg

 

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Devotional: Living In The Tension Of The Now And Not Yet

By Delphne Tan

I have many times been tempted to despair—to despair when I see millions of people trapped in poverty and injustice all around the world. In my volunteer work with International Justice Mission, a non-governmental organisation that fights modern slavery and human trafficking, I see that for every person liberated, there are many more imprisoned.

I long for the day Jesus returns again to wipe every tear, to restore justice and to reign over His Kingdom. Why can’t we hit the ‘fast forward’ button so that suffering will be eliminated once and for all now?

In A Little While reflects the words Jesus spoke to His disciples in John 16 before He went to the cross. A moment pregnant with grace, He prepared His disciples for two ‘little whiles’. The first, His journey towards death on the cross. The second, the state of the ‘now and not yet’ between His ascension and His final return.

The now and the not yet is a paradox of our faith. George Eldon Ladd, who coined this phrase in the 1950s, said that the Kingdom of God is not a realm, but the rule of God both now and to come when it will come into perfect measure.[1]

Although this tension can be difficult to bear, I find solace in the words of Jesus in John 16.

The first, He promised there will be suffering. Though this does not feel quite so comforting, it helps me makes sense of what we see today. Jesus said to the disciples that they will weep and lament the brokenness of the world and the troubles they would face. Jesus knows the pain and suffering that is happening now, and the comfort He offers to us is that suffering does not have the final word.

Jesus promises that sorrows will turn to joy. Imperishable joy, like that of a mother who endures the pains of childbirth and then carries her child in her arms. The powerful word here is ‘will’. He is certain the pain will not last, and joy, which cannot be taken away, will come.

Finally, in this time of the in-between, Jesus promises that whatever we ask of the Father in His name, He will give. He compels us to ask and receive so that our joy may be full.

This is the beauty of the now and the not yet, the grace of the tension as we live in this paradox. We do not have to wait till the day we see Jesus again to experience joy in the midst of suffering.

See Ting, a dear friend who has walked, and is still walking, through the valley of life-threatening illnesses, says this about the hope that our faith gives us:

“That’s the beautiful thing about the faith – in the same breath, you can hold both grief and hope, and disappointment and wonder.”[2]

How? At the end of John 16, Jesus said:

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

It comes back to abiding in Jesus, as He abides in the Father. Jesus prayed that we would be perfectly one with Him as He is with the Father, that we may receive what Jesus received, to be where He is, and to see His glory. Most powerfully, Jesus ended His prayer that we will know the love with which the Father loves the Son.

As you serve and love those in need, do you struggle with seeing people in poverty and suffering? As you face the daily battles of life, do you feel fatigue or frustration? As you advocate for social justice, do you feel tempted to resignation or despair?

Take heart! In Jesus, you can hold these in tension with an imperishable joy—joy from the knowledge that He has overcome the world. As you navigate the now and not yet, may you experience the wondrous love of our Heavenly Father to the fullest.

 

[1]  Ladd, George Eldon (1959). The Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.

[2]  See Ting has subsequently departed to be with Jesus after the writing of this devotional.

Prayer


Thank you for your words of comfort. You are not far away, unfamiliar with suffering. You are close, and you know the brokenness and suffering of this world, having experienced it yourself. If our hearts break for the injustice in this world, oh how much more yours does!

As we are your hands and feet to this world, we pray you encourage us. Teach us to abide in you, give us a fresh and consistent revelation of your love for us, so that our joy may be full. Help us to sit in the tension of the now and not yet, full of hope and expectation for your coming and still fully present in doing your good work in this world.

Amen.

 

About Delphne Tan

 

Delphne is an adventurous creative. She is on a life-long adventure of being a child of God. A people-loving introvert, she shares her stories through words, music and movement to draw others into their own adventures. She is currently an adjunct lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic and is involved in Awaken Generation, both as a student mentor and a student in Ministry Leadership. Some of her writing can be found on Thir.st.

Delphne Tan headshot.jpeg