Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:5-6
I’ve been looking for the way for months now. I’ve been searching, praying, grieving, mourning, dreaming, trying and in all things searching out the truth about my life – why it was necessary, in God’s economy, to add me to the parts of His Body. Feeling more like an appendix which apparently can be removed from a body without any consequence, I’ve wanted instead a clearly defined function which would determine to which things I answered “yes” and which things I answer “no”. Basically, I’d like a guiding mission statement identifying my necessary purpose in God’s Kingdom and at the same time wanting it to be a purpose that keeps my energy flowing, my courage bubbling, my humor high and my joy complete.
The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. 1 John 1:2-4
It doesn’t take a theologian to observe the reality that more Jesus is more life and less Jesus is less life. Worrying about dying computers, broken printers, washing machines on their last legs, new shoes needed, tuition payments due not to mention landscaping dreams, interior decorating desires, personal space and rest and generally fighting for self-preservation all take up space better filled with Jesus. But the Gospel doesn’t actually preach Gnosticism but instead did make us human, flesh, material in a material world. I have been called to dwell with God in my physical state, a condition that includes fatigue, hunger, nerve endings and the limitations of my not being omniscient.
In Uganda, God was near. People were smaller and He was bigger. Was it simply the lack of material comforts that made it so? Was it the common experience of powerlessness? I thought I would go there to find beautiful simplicity, but the poverty wasn’t beautiful at all, the unjust way those in power lived in the midst of those without power was as dehumanizing as our own culture of “Wall Street to the Hamptons” worship. Life was really hard over there, but Keens didn’t seem to matter so much and a broken printer was more than most schools over there even have. A washing machine? Those are called hands. I suppose each culture has its own tastes of freedom and experiences of oppression and each need fellowship with Jesus to live in complete joy.
Do you know why I get agitated so easily? Its because my children have sin that I have to deal with all day and because I have neighbors who don’t know about social boundaries and there are people making decisions at our church and in my children’s schools and extra curricular programs that I don’t agree with and don’t like and can’t do anything about and…
Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” “Twelve,” they replied. Mark 8:17-19
I have been looking to myself as the way, the truth and the life. I have been trying to white knuckle and clench jaw my way into more Life. The way isn’t through our budget, more income (to be honest, my chest tightens as I write that truth that my heart does not yet embrace) or a definable personal mission statement. Life is found in Jesus and where He is, it exists in undiminishable abundance. This is why it is said that Life is found on our knees…not through the computer screen or cocktail glass or on the other side of a particular career’s glass ceiling. That Life is not in a particular place but in a particular person. Where He is, there is Life.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:3-5