And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. – John 14:3
“Because God let my preacher die” is the latest reason that I’ve been given that someone quit Christianity. “I was a big time Christian . . . went to church all the time,” they told me. I have spoken with a lot of people who have reasons that they no longer follow God nor care about Him at all anymore.
I’ve only had one moment in my life where my circumstances seriously had me contemplating no longer following Jesus. Within a few days of this, my daily Bible Reading took me to John 6 where I read the words of Jesus when He asked the disciples, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:67-68)
Where else am I going to go? Who else offers eternal life? To me, those are the important questions to answer if I am going to willingly leave my faith in Christ. Looking back, I see now that my worst days with Jesus were better than my best without Him. I remember what it was like to care about everything but Him . . . I never want to go back to that.
So many Christians, often me included, are trying so hard to make this life as comfortable as possible. People who profess faith in Christ don’t want anything to do with a work ethic, Bible study, prayer, or any kind of suffering or delayed gratification. For the most part, Americans, even American Christians, want what they want, and they want it yesterday. If, and when, they must face the least bit of discomfort, they shake their fist at God, or at the very least, begin to doubt Him, His love, and His care.
In this life there are headaches . . . literal and figurative. There is injustice. There are accidents that lead to death and sicknesses that lead to death. We have no clue if our lives will end in the next few moments or years from now. This life is filled with an insane amount of uncertainty. Yet, Jesus promises to be with us in all that uncertainty. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We always have a friend in Jesus, and we always have someone to talk with about anything and everything going on in our lives.
In the next life, oh glory, in the next life . . . well, I’ll just let the Bible tell you about that one:
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things have passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:3-5)
Lord, I hate how easy I forget that this world is not my home. I complain about the really small things You ask me to do. So often those things You are asking me to do are for my own immediate benefit. I don’t want to be a complainer, Lord. I want to do all that You’d ever have me do in this life with joy. What a marvelous thing to get to work and labor for my Maker. Forgive me, Lord, for I know I speak things that I would never say if I truly trusted You completely. Help me, Jesus! Fill me afresh with Thy Holy Spirit! My life is in Your hands. Amen.