“If you really love me, you will be very happy for me, because now I can go to the Father.” (John 14:28b NLT)
Jesus is trying to prepare his still-not-quite-understanding disciples for the horror and grief that will overtake them when he is crucified. He has told them he will be abused and killed. He has told them he will live again, that he is going away but will return for them.
Then Jesus says something that would have sounded odd to anyone who understood he was about to be tortured to death: “If you really love me, you will be very happy for me, because now I can go to the Father.” Someone who has persevered through great trial or suffering, however, understands immediately. When God walks you through the proverbial “valley of the shadow of death” and uses it to help you see what is truly important in life, you realize that great trial or suffering is a gift from God, an act of God that delivers you to a destination you could not have reached any other way. As hard as it was, you are glad you experienced the adversity. You want others to understand that God can use their adversity to deepen them and draw them closer to himself, to open their eyes to the Kingdom and appoint them to their next mission as ambassadors of reconciliation.
You are happy about the suffering you endured, and you want them to be happy that God will use their suffering to advance the Kingdom in and through them.
Jesus wanted his disciples to be happy about the agony he was about to endure, because it opened the way for him to go to the Father. His death was the door to resurrection. Jesus had to go away before he could send the Holy Spirit to teach, strengthen, and encourage his disciples. If Jesus endured death on the cross and went to the Father, the disciples would be able to do not only the works he had done, but even greater works than those.
What trial or suffering have you endured that helped you see what is truly important in life? What adversity are you experiencing now that God wants to use to deepen you, draw you closer to himself, and open your eyes to the Kingdom?