The last few years have been tough on a lot of my friends. It feels like our halcyon 20s and 30s dissolved into the difficult 40s and 50s. Really difficult.
I endured a painful job situation followed by 22 months of unemployment – after having stepped into the gap when my husband lost his position and then his health. Another friend decided to walk away from the faith… and his marriage. His wife has remained close. We’ve walked along as she struggles with the death of her dreams, with loneliness, and with the fear of how this situation well affect her children.
At different times over the last few years, we’ve all three wondered if God had forgotten us, if He’d hung up the phone (Jesus Calling? Not us!), if He was asleep at the wheel, even (gasp!) if all this were true.
Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. John 6: 68 (NIV)
The crowds had heard Jesus’ discourse in the Synagogue where He had talked about being the bread of life, that He had come from above to provide more than bread and miracles. He taught that He would impart eternal life to those who believed, to those who “eat my flesh and drink my blood.” vs. 54
The crowds may have been confused by the metaphors (eat flesh? drink blood?). Perhaps they were upset by Jesus’ apparent claims to deity. Maybe belief in Jesus and the implied commitment were more than they bargained for.
They came to have their needs met. When they discovered Jesus demanded more, they left.
Those who stayed heard the exact same things the others heard, yet came to a different conclusion and a different decision.
We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God. vs. 69
For Peter, all the arrows pointed in one direction: Jesus was Messiah. Where else could he go but to follow Jesus?
And that’s the conclusion my husband, our friend, and I came to, that Jesus is the Creator God of the Universe who died on the Cross for us: Where else could we go?
I really did think it through and knew that despite my doubts, no other version of God made sense except the story of One that came from above and shed His blood for me. Where else could I go?
They say this is the turning point in John’s gospel – people start deciding to follow Jesus… or not. The question remains: why did some “get” the truth about Jesus while others did not? Why did some turn back and some remain? Why did 11 believe and 1 betray?
Jesus answered that question in verse 65 (and also in verses 37, 44, and 45): “…no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
Thank God that He enabled us.
And that He kept us safe, despite our difficulties and doubts.
Today’s Readings: 2 Samuel 13:1-14:33, Psalm 66:1-7, Proverbs 16:25-36, John 6:60-71. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).