23 November 2019

Someone To Run To

"I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take heart: I have overcome the world."

Story 1.
There was once a man who thought he knew all the answers. He thought he could put God in a box. But he had his doubts. He questioned the realness of his faith.
So Jesus came into his life and told him there was more to life than having all the right answers. His name was Nicodemus. His story is found in John chapter 3. He was a Pharisee, a teacher of Scripture, he was supposed to have things figured out.

For a young person, it’s easy to think that at this age, at a young age, I have all the answers I need for life. I used think I had figured things out, you don’t need wisdom from others, I don’t need the discipline from my parents, from elders, or even God. Because I think I know how to live.
But there are others times as a young person, that I feel like I don’t have any answers whatsoever. I have doubts about God, I have doubts about your faith. I doubt whether Jesus can show up in your life, whether Jesus is the answer, whether this thing called Christianity or this thing called Adventism is worth living.

I see pieces of both in Nicodemus. Nicodemus had presumption, he assumed that he had his faith and worldview figured out, he was satisfied with the life he was living as a Pharisee.
But when Jesus came into the picture, he doubted the things he thought he knew. Because now Jesus turned his whole perspective on life upside down.
So he came to Jesus in the night because he needed to figure things out. And he found that Jesus embraced him as he was, doubts and presumptions, pride and prejudice. All that he was.
Because when Nicodemus started asking questions, when he started digger deeper into his faith, when he started wrestling with his doubts and what he thought was truth, he found a Savior who truly satisfied.
"For God did not send Me into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Me might be saved."
His questions plagued him, his doubts tormented him. Jesus was unafraid of his doubts, Jesus wasn’t stressed about his questions.
Because at the bottom of his doubts, his questions, his pride, his presumption, Nicodemus found a more wonderful, a more satisfying Savior. He found a Jesus who was all whom he truly needed. Nicodemus had more than doubts and questions to run from, he had Someone to run to. In this world, you will have doubts and questions, but take heart, He has overcome.

Story 2.
There was a woman who lived a life drenched in sin. She didn’t know if she was addicted to the abusive captivity of sex or if that was the only life she had known, and she had nothing else to turn to.
But she was trapped. Trapped in the abuse forced upon her by her family, trapped in the arms of sickened relationships, held on tight by the painful suffering of darkness in her life.
We don’t know her name, some speculate her identity, but in John chapter 8, her name is not given. But perhaps with no name, we see reflections of ourselves.
No man seemed to love her, so she kept doing what was doing. If she couldn’t find love, she’d find something that appeared like love. She wanted to run away, she wanted to escape; one day she got her chance.
One day, in the midst of a shameful, embarrassing transaction of sin, the religious leaders stormed in, grabbed her naked body, bound her in arrest, and took her to the public square. She was finally caught.

There in the square stood the teacher, some called Him the Messiah, a man many had talked about, a man people had said was the one they were waiting for. But why did it matter to her. Her cruel worthless life was about to end.
A Pharisee called out to the Teacher,
"'Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?' This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground."
Our failures, our sins can take us rock bottom, but Jesus meets us where we are on the ground we have fallen, and He writes His love on the dust.
The woman found that it wasn’t her failures and accusers who had driven her to Jesus, but she found that this Savior had drawn her with His deep and vast love.
She had a dirty, shameful past to run away from, but that didn’t matter as much to this Someone to run to. In this world, you will have sin and guilt, but take heart, He has over come.

Story 3.
"She turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
Jesus said unto her, Woman, why do you weep? Whom do you seek? She, supposing him to be the gardener, said unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.
Jesus said unto her: Mary."
This story, like the other stories, is about ourselves. We too, like Mary, may wonder where God is. We may not say God is dead, but we may imagine He is absent from us. That He has left us alone. That God has abandoned us. Or we may find ourselves weeping, because we find ourselves in a world without hope. We live in a world full of pain and suffering, violence and troubles, wars and rumors of wars, uncertainty and no peace. And yet amidst all these troubles in the world, we might feel hopeless because the pains of life are too much to bear. So like Mary, we wonder where God is.

Recently, and for a very long time, I had been feeling despair. I felt discouragement. I felt disappointment. I felt like my hopes and dreams had been taken away from me.

Maybe the way I had described Mary doesn’t seem relevant to you, but that assuredly describes my own pain of recent times. I had been wondering where God was, and it was only until I turned around and started paying attention did I realize God had been behind me the whole time. I let my eyes be blinded by my pain and suffering, not realizing that as I mulled over my grief, that God was reaching out to me, that if I turned around, I'd find Someone to run to.

In this world you will have despair and discouragement. Your world may come crashing down on you. Your hopes and dreams may be ignored and forgotten. But take heart, you might find that God has been standing behind you, calling your name. He has overcome.

The thing about pain and suffering is that the more we grow in our faith, the troubles we see in life should not lead us to despair, but that they draw you to hope. Not that you have something to run away from, but Someone to run to.

In this world, you will have things to run from.

But take heart,
take courage,
be of good cheer: you have Someone to run to.

Nairobi, Kenya
with writing from Beirut, Lebanon

0 Reactions ✈:

Post a Comment