The gospel of John, Chapter 6, tells about a time when some of Jesus’ disciples had difficulty accepting his radical teachings. As a result, many deserted him. Whenever, I’ve read this passage, I always stop to ponder a portion I find especially poignant–verses 67 and 68,
Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”
Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.
I love Peter’s question, “Lord, to whom would we go?” There have been times when my life has been difficult, and I’ve wondered if putting forth the effort to follow Christ is worth it. But, invariably my heart, even like Peter, asks, “Sue, if you didn’t have Jesus, to whom would you go?”
I’m a big fan of traveling life’s journey when the road is smooth and easy. I love it when I’m healthy, when I feel full of energy, fulfilled and appreciated. I enjoy resting comfortably at night, confident those I love are safe, healthy, and happy.
Yeah. I like “easy.”
But, life isn’t always easy as I discussed in my last “Soul Care Discovery” post.
For the past several weeks, I’ve been struggling with one pesky upper respiratory problem after another. The accompanying fatigue has left me feeling a bit emotionally vulnerable. The other evening, I told my husband that for the first time in my life, I was feeling old and worthless.
Normally, I’m a glass-half-full sort of gal, and I know this stinkin’ thinkin’ will pass, but I don’t like emotions such as these that create uneasiness in my soul.
I have friends and family who are traveling through much more difficult times than I am right now:
- Recurrence of cancer.
- Deep, dark clinical depression.
- Unwanted divorce.
- Living with a family member’s mental illness—trying to make sense out of senseless behaviors.
- Life-altering surgery.
- Rejection from adult children.
- Wondering if a special child will be able to survive—perhaps even thrive—despite his/her special needs.
- Shameful aftermath of unwise relational choices.
- Eldercare questions and concerns.
- Worries about safety of loved ones living in storm-infested regions.
- Actual safety planning for family and friends living in those same regions.
- Reality of aging, asking:
- Where do I fit in at this season of life?
- Shouldn’t my equity of wisdom and experience matter for something?
- Will anyone want a woman with all these wrinkles?
The other day, a quiet farming community only a few miles from our hometown experienced the unthinkable horror of a school shooting. My friend’s precious granddaughter was one of the innocent victims. She’ll most likely be all right, but another grandma, mama and dad will never see their beloved boy who lost his life trying to reason with his friend, the shooter.
These past few days I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on the painful circumstances so many folks are navigating. Like I’ve said before, I don’t much care for trying times. Yet, I realize some of the most precious gifts I’ve received, some of the most insightful moments I’ve experienced have been realized during difficult days. Often, it wasn’t until long after the fact, but I have always been able to see eventually God’s good hand guiding me over every seemingly insurmountable mountain.
I wish I had some magical answers for my friends who are hurting, some quick fixes, some absolute assurances, but I have none of those. I can only reply, like the disciple, Peter, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.”
During our trying, difficult times, let’s try to keep looking up!
I’m praying for you, and I appreciate your prayers for me…