“…Lord, who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life” John 6:68.
Do you ever feel like God isn’t hearing your prayers? Like your life is falling to pieces around you and He’s not fixing things, no matter how much you pray? Like He doesn’t really care about the pain you’re experiencing?
Awhile back, I hit that point. I was frustrated with God. Maybe angry with God is more accurate. I was wrestling in my heart with accusations against God. So I brought them to Him. (Side note…I’m so very thankful that He’s not threatened by honesty. That He can handle my raging heart. That He invites me to pour out my soul to Him [see Ps 62:8]. That He’s not surprised by what I tell Him. And that He so gently and patiently reveals the truth about Himself.)
In those moments of transparent honesty, I asked God what was the point of following Him when He wasn’t answering my prayers, when nothing was changing. Why should I keep living for Him when He wasn’t healing the brokenness around me?
For most of my Christian life, I had personally received some benefit from following Him…peace, answered prayers, joy, blessing, etc. But I’d come to a place where following God seemed to hold no personal benefits to me, at least not in the “here and now.” The road ahead just looked painful. And I was, quite frankly, wondering if it was worth it.
In my spirit I sensed Jesus asking me the same question He asked His disciples 2000 years ago, after many of His followers had deserted Him (John 6:66-69). He asked, “Do you want to go away as well?” (Please understand that I am in no way implying that I believe a Christian can lose their salvation [Heb 13:5, John 10:28-30, Rom 8:38-39]. I am simply referring to living life in obedience to Christ, to following Him.) My heart immediately replied as Peter did, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Jesus alone holds life.
Jesus alone offers living water, water that satisfies the thirst of our souls (John 4:10-14). And Jesus alone brings healing.
Yes, there were broken areas in my life and in the lives around me. They needed healing. But there is only one Source of healing. Only Jesus can work miracles and bring to life what is dead. He specializes in bringing beauty out of ashes (Is 61:3), in restoring what is broken. Other sources can “put bandaids” on my problems. But Jesus alone can truly heal.
So, after wrestling through my inner turmoil, I made a decision. Encouraged by His Word and empowered by His Spirit, I chose to cling to Jesus. (And though we cling to Him, it is truly Him holding on to us – Ps 63:8.)
It was a spiritual milestone in my life. Even if He doesn’t answer my prayers the way I hope, or bring the changes I long for, or fix the problems I face…He is still God (Ps 46:10). My life is His. And He is fully trustworthy. Everyday, He loves me. And everyday, He is faithful (Ps 92:2). There will be seasons of peace and seasons of suffering. Seasons of joy and seasons of pain.
But through it all, God will be there – a very present help in time of need (Ps 46:1). He will bring good out of evil (Rom 8:28) and beauty out of brokenness.
Back then, and even now, there are a good number of things I wish would change – I pray will change. Many days I feel like I’m a mess, barely keeping my head above water. But this messy, oh-so-imperfect life is beautiful because God is in it. He is making me a “trophy of His grace,” a picture of what Christ can do when He takes hold of a life. His nearness brings peace (Ps 73:28), even where there is pain. He is ever at work (Rom 8:28). He is good. He is trustworthy. He is unchanging. And He is faithful – the one and only Source of life.
How has God brought beauty from ashes in your life?