Ever feel like David and just wish you could fly away?
And I say, ?Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest;
yes, I would wander far away;
I would lodge in the wilderness PS 55:6-7
There have been times I?ve felt like that. I?ve wished I could sprout wings and fly far away. I?ve wished I could move to some distant town where nobody knew me, change my name, and start a new life. I?ve wished I could escape from problems and pain and sadness and dealing with people and hole up in a cabin in the woods somewhere.
But there?s really no escaping sadness and pain in this life. There have been times I?ve felt like quitting. Felt like giving up my faith in Jesus. But every time I have, Jesus? question to Peter and Peter?s answer comes ringing in my ears:
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, ?Do you want to go away as well?? Simon Peter answered him, ?Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.? John 6:66-69
Where else would I go? Jesus has the words of eternal life. And I have come to know that he is the Messiah, the Savior, the Way the Truth and the Life. Where else am I going to go? Back to the bars? Back to my life of sin? Back to the world – that broken empty well that promises happiness but never delivers? Am I going to go to some other religion? I can?t do that. I know the truth. Where else am I going to go? I know that Jesus is my only hope. As much pain as I might be in at the moment, I know that he is my only refuge.
It?s easy to have faith when things are going great. It?s easy to praise God and be thankful when all is going our way. But to trust and praise him in the midst of affliction brings him so much glory. When we suffer, especially in the midst of tragedy and intense pain, we can feel like doing what Job?s wife suggested: ?Curse God and die.? Or we can respond like Job: ?Though he slay me, yet will I praise him.?
In my forty years as a Christian, I?ve seen believers respond to tragedy and tough times both ways. I?ve seen some become bitter, lose their faith, and stop following Jesus, saying how could a good God allow this? How could a loving God allow me to go through such pain? God didn?t answer my prayers. I believed in him but he didn?t come through.
I?ve also seen believers go through horrific tragedies and yet despite unimaginable sadness, yet through their tears, still lift their voices to Jesus in praise and declare that Jesus is sovereign, wise, loving and good. What glory they bring to God as they lift their hands in worship, even as tears stream down their cheeks. How they honor the Lord! I can?t wait to see the day when Jesus wipes every tear from their eyes and crowns them with glory. And if an angel standing by asks ?Why didn?t you give up on Jesus? Why did you keep praising and trusting him?? they?ll answer ?Where else would I have gone? Jesus has the words of eternal life. He is the Holy One of God, my Lord, my King. He was my only hope.?
Where else are you going to go?
Jesus is the fountain of life. Every other ?fountain? is an empty well. Every other road is a dead end. Pour out your grief to Jesus. Pour out your complaint to him. Ask him your questions. Ask him why you have to go through what you have to go through. Yet resolve to say, ?Where else would I go, Jesus? You have the words of eternal life. You are my only hope.? Ask Jesus for comfort and peace. Ask him to bear your sadness. And ask him for grace to praise him in the midst of your affliction.
There?s nowhere else to go. So cling to the one whose everlasting arms of love are upholding you. Run to the one who truly knows your pain and longs to comfort you. Run to the one who is your refuge and strength, your very present help in trouble. Run to the one who has the words of eternal life.