John 10: 10
The Thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
On the night before my birthday, I was unable to fall asleep, as all that my Lament had given voice to, came back to haunt me. The images, sounds and smells of my mother’s final hours, too horrible to share here, crippled me into a state of traumatized shock and deep, deep fear and grief. I sat there thinking that if this is what life looks like, if this is what the life of those who love and serve the LORD looks like, then what hope was there, what was there to live for. I was utterly overcome, blinded to all love and affection, all blessings of family and friends.
In that moment I truly believed that God was out to pour out His wrath on all of us and that life was not worth living. In absolute desperation, I cried out, “Is this it? Is this the life you promise us?” I was really, really angry and for the very first time I directed this deep, deep anger and desperation at the LORD. And then I dared Him to show me that life really was worth living- I turned to my Bible and opened it, my eyes resting on the following passage:
John 6: 35 – 40 (The Message)
35-38 Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.
39-40 “This, in a nutshell, is that will: that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.”
The more I read this passage, the more my tears flowed. I read this and finally, finally started to understand just how deeply I am known and loved.
If you look closely, you’ll see what I came to see and truly understand the more I read it. The Spirit of God responds to my deepest fears, grief and insecurities in His overwhelming promises:
- He tells me that Jesus is holding onto me and will NOT let me go.
- He tells me that Jesus is working in me to make me “upright” and thus worthy to stand before my Heavenly Father at the end of time, that His work of righteousness will be completed in me to cover the shame of ALL my sin because of His Great and Perfect Sacrifice in Love.
- He tells me, that Jesus is also working to make me “whole”, to bring restoration and healing where now pain, heartache and fear reside.
- He tells me that my mother’s body and mind are no longer unbearably broken, that she is now standing before the throne of God, the Father, “whole” and “complete”.
- He tells me that ALL I have to do is “trust” Him, “lean on, feel safe or secure, to be confident in” Him.
- He tells me that by abiding in Him, I will no longer hunger or thirst.
These are promises that my heart is slowly, but surely internalizing. Even now, as I return to this passage, the Spirit of God is rooting Himself more deeply into me through these powerful words.
Do I still doubt in His goodness, do I still waiver in my faith at times? Yes, I do. But every single time, I have felt Him leading me back to trust Him. He is holding onto me and not letting me go, just as He has promised me He will in John 6. And in drawing me back to Him, He has been teaching me to turn all my brokenness, whether that be anger, fear, heartache, grief, loneliness, desperation, anxiety, shame, guilt or any other crippling feelings of brokenness to the manna of His Word. And there He has been meeting me in His love, grace, comfort, security, hope, strength…all that my mind, heart and soul yearn after.
Although this process is and has been painful, as “sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel”, as He’s been leading me through “the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23) into the depths of myself, through therapy and counseling for PTSD and all that has been unearthed and faced in the process, it has also been the birthing ground of incredible freedom. That which I once fled or sought to numb in fear, I am now learning to step directly into, facing that which Jesus calls me to face, in the confidence of His Presence behind, before, in and around me.
How has the Spirit of God led you into greater freedom? What Scriptures have played a leading role in this process? I would love to hear your stories.
What speaks to you the most in John 6: 35-40? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Hebrews 4:12-16 The Message (MSG)
12-13 God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.
14-16 Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
DaySpring.com is celebrating all of the amazing Write 31 Days readers who are supporting nearly 2,000 writers this October! To enter to win a $500 DaySpring shopping spree, just click on this link & follow the giveaway widget instructions. Good luck, and thanks for reading!