This may surprise you, but one of my favorite passages in the Bible is John 6:68-69.
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.”
I have come back to this section of the Bible countless times during periods of struggle. Life throws many temptations and trials at us. Whether it is obvious, overt sin, such as sexual indiscretion or something much more subtle, like greed, temptations abound. Many times, I find that temptations can then make it as far as becoming a way of thinking for me. This is when it gets dangerous. “I would be happier if I followed a life driven by financial gain.” “I would be happier if I just married this girl, instead of God’s choice for me.” “I would be happier if I were doing a different profession.”
On my worst days, I’m tempted to even doubt the goodness, care, power, and love of my God, Christ Jesus. This is generally following times of extreme heartache, loneliness, disappointment, or loss.
Whether it’s precipitated by moral failure, personal loss, or challenges to my faith in Christ and the Bible, I love this passage (John 6:68-69) in illustrating this point. I love the truthfulness, even desperation, in Peter here. In the end, no matter how confusing life has gotten, when things just don’t make sense, and when I have been tempted to mentally and/or emotionally throw in the towel, I always come back to this reality. . . just as Peter did.
Why is this the case?
I have been blessed by seeing the world, studying cultures other than my own, wrestling with others on issues of God, pain, suffering, and everything imaginable with people from all walks of life, in most locations. I have seen men try materialism, licentiousness, atheism, and self-indulgence of all varieties. I’ve talked through life with Muslims, had friends go to Buddhist temples during exam times for celestial help, and wrestled with the merits of God’s existence with academicians. Relative to most Americans, I have seen much of the world.
With this in mind, even in the midst of failure, temptation, and confusion or doubt, Christ is still the best answer to life’s most difficult questions and pains. Therefore, Christ is still the best answer to MY most difficult questions and pains. There is no suitable alternative, at least not in my mind and heart.
Personally, I know that Christ is real, lives within me, and has changed me in ways that are inexplicable aside from His reality and His power to change me. I am different from who I used to be. My motivations are different. My satisfactions are different. This is undeniably Christ within me.
Intellectually, I am convinced that Christianity, as explained by and based upon the Bible, is far and away the most satisfying and historically viable answer to the deepest questions of man; who am I? Where did I come from and to where will I be going after death? What is life all about? It best explains issues like love and evil, and everything I can think of that is of consequence.
Experientially, I am confident that the change for good that I have seen in so many other people, the ability to walk away from addiction, to heal broken relationships, and to love and serve others sacrificially, can be attributed to nothing else short of Christ’s presence and power to save people. I have seen Christians risk their careers and even lives for their belief in the Bible and Christ.
So, even on my worst days of discouragement, lack of faith, sin, personal loss, and all other tribulations, I can never deny what I personally, intellectually, and emotionally am certain of in Christ Jesus. It always comes back to me echoing the words of the Apostle Peter. . .
“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.”
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for this reality and comfort. Please help me to trust in You even in desperation, weakness, and times of sin and confusion. You are good and I praise you!