Do You Want To Go Away?
“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 ESV)
“Do you want to go away as well?”
I know too many who are still not sure how to answer.
It’s not that they object to the moral teaching of Scripture, it’s simply that things have been too hard for too long and life goes on as if they had no God.
They have prayed and they have prayed for things the Scripture hints are good things to pray for, but no answers have come.
The sickness returns, the pain continues, people remain broken.
I have no good answers for them, at least not answers that bring any solace…some of them have suggested that I consult with more learned clerics or seek the prayers of holier people for them.
It would not comfort them more if they knew I already had done both.
They feel like leaving, but fear that even more pain would follow from an angry God.
In more lucid moments they know there is nowhere else to go.
The disciples that turned back in our passage did so because Jesus wasn’t the Messiah they expected. People leave for the same reason today.
We oversold the “benefits” of being a believer to get them in the door and papered over the calls to sacrifice and suffering.
We basically told them that all the glories of the kingdom to come would be present right now, neglecting to tell them that all those glories come with a personal cross.
We demand that they exhibit unfaltering faith in the face of any tragedy, forgetting that Jesus in the garden tried to open up negotiations to avoid His own fate.
I bring little comfort and my answers to their reality…God is good…God loves you…God is for you…ring hollow in pain.
I feel useless.
Maybe I am.
Their questions sometimes shake my own faith.
I still believe this…
“He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;”
(Isaiah 42:2–3 ESV)
All I can do is be present and mostly silent when with them and bring them to God when I am away from them.
That… is useful.
I believe, Lord…help my unbelief…and theirs.