The past several weeks have been rough. There have been events in my life which preoccupied a lot of my thoughts and served to place my feet on rocky ground, so to speak. I had to use my best efforts to submit to the helper to prevent myself from borrowing worry from tomorrow, as Jesus cautions against that fruitless exercise.
First, my uncle was tragically killed as he was walking on a sidewalk by a distracted driver. Second, was a family health issue that would only take time to resolve. The problem for me in both these events is that I could not control either; meaning, there was nothing I could do to take the pain or hardship away in either situation. I felt helpless.
In those times when even my best efforts do not affect the outcome, or when there is nothing I can physically do to make things better, there is Jesus. Throughout these past weeks, Jesus found his way to me, as he has proven himself faithful to do over and over. I understand that it may sound so far-fetched to make a statement like this, but it is one of those things that one must experience to know. It is like the statement “if you know, you know”.
The very nature of Jesus is what draws me to him. He is the way to God, the way to eternal life with the Father, an intercessor, and an advocate. His nature is that of a loving shepherd who tends after his flock, so that not one lamb goes astray. He is the gate of the sheep pen, laying down his life to be that gate. I know he died and rose again for my sins, a debt I would have never been able to fulfill on my own. Jesus as an intercessor did not end when his ministry on earth was complete, it is something he is always doing, without end.
In his book, Gentle and Lowly, Dane Ortlund, says that Jesus’s “advocacy on our behalf rises higher than our sins. His advocacy speaks louder than our failures. All is taken care of.” What an incredible advocate we have access to in Jesus! His loving care is unfathomable!
This is a comforting notion to me, especially in times of despair. In times like this, when the waves of life seem to be crashing down, it is a reminder of how very simple faith in Jesus can be. When Jesus was here on earth, when he called people to him, he frequently used two words, “Follow me”. All the rest would fall into line later, as the follower was on journey with him. Taking the first step towards Jesus is life-changing. It is an exercise in faith that grows over time. Through trials of life, like the past few weeks, my faith is refined and shaped, striped down to the child-like faith that I go back to when life needs simplifying.
Life will be complicated and messy, having things that are completely out of my control. Having Jesus does not mean these pot-holes of life are avoided, it means that I have a helper to get through them.
Having Jesus means I pray for the person who hit my uncle. His life is just as changed as my uncle’s life was, only in a very different way. This guy was a newlywed, his 1 year anniversary being the very day I wrote these words you are reading. Throughout such a tragedy, I was able to be reunited with family, as we were able to grieve and mourn together. I am reminded of the importance of driving without distractions, as life can be forever changed in an instant. I am reminded of the importance of telling others how much you love them, even if it makes you seem weird at the time, for there could come a day when the opportunity is no longer afforded.
Having Jesus means I leave my family member’s health in his loving hands, seeking, praying, asking for healing, and then saying “thank you, Jesus!” when gains are made. It means I work to trust in him all the more when there is literally nothing else I can do. This trust means I surrender the outcome to him, even if it means an outcome I would not have chosen. I work to trust and obey and worship and seek him in spirit and in truth.
I say all this to say, if you are not already following Jesus, join me on the journey, for it will be one you will not regret! When you do so, you will want to get others to join also. It’s like that choo-choo song at wedding receptions, you’ll grab people on the sidelines of the dance floor to join you in a crazy dance, bringing smiles all around. That’s just how infectious Jesus is!
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