16:25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. 28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”
The more I learn, grow, study, watch, etc... the more I am convinced that the biggest and most deceptive lies we tell are to ourselves. One of the lies I have told myself and I have observed in others is the lie that if I could speak directly to Jesus I would be better able to follow Him. It sounds true but it is a lie. Here is how I know. In the Old Testament God lead the Israelites out of Egypt literally "by hand". All they had to do was follow the very visible and undeniable cloud that went before them all day long that became a pillar of fire in the night. The Bible tells us that when they first left God led them "off course". There was a main road that went from Egypt to Canaan. It was the smooth, wide, obvious way to go. Instead He led them into the wilderness and they complained. They believed He was leading them poorly and that they could/would follow better and faster on the main road. Moses goes on to write that God knew He couldn't lead them that easier way because on it they would face war and in their fear they would turn back and stop following completely. See God knew them better than they knew themselves. They believed the lies they told themselves but God knew the truth and led them the best possible way for them even though it wasn't the best or easiest route.
In John 16 Jesus has already told the 11 that He has many things to tell them that they aren't ready to hear or learn. If He were to just quickly take them along the "information highway" they would become overwhelmed and turn back. Now Jesus is saying "I have been using figurative language..." It's another way of saying "I'm giving you all you can handle right now. In time I will be able to be much more direct but you aren't ready yet."
We don't believe the truth about ourselves. We are convinced that if God revealed more and faster we would be better equipped to follow and serve Him. We say things like "I'm praying but I just don't know what He wants. I need a sign." The truth is God is leading you as far and as fast as you can handle and slowly enough that He doesn't overwhelm you and send you running.
Think of the circumstances in John's gospel. Jesus is supposed be preparing men for His death and departure, men who are not even willing to entertain the idea that Him dying is even an option. How can that work?
What if I am praying for direction and God knows that if He actually revealed the direction in neon lights I would run as far and as fast as I could in the opposite direction? The truth is God is doing everything He can to grow us, stretch us, mature us and bring us to the place where He could tell us anything and we wouldn't run or even flinch. Until then trust His leading, his figurative language, and even His silence. It is all for a purpose. It is all necessary. It is all at the perfect pace. It is all love. It all leads Home. Don't believe the lies we tell ourselves. Only One tells the Truth. Always.