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John 6 - And Pain

Updated: Jan 13, 2020

John 6:66-69 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.”

I want a divorce.

You have cancer.

There was an accident and your husband is in the hospital.

Your child is dying.

These are all words we pray we’ll never hear. Injury, death, broken relationships…life is full of pain and difficulty and even though it has joy and sweetness, at times the bitterness can be deep and dark and inescapable. The Word says the rain falls on the just and the unjust and it’s not just talking about wetness from the sky. Christians encounter as much pain as anyone in this life, and sometimes it seems incredibly unfair that those that follow hard after the Savior are denied the miraculous intervention that could so easily come from His nearby hand. Healing is nothing to Him and He could create or dissolve any situation in a matter of moments with barely a thought. But He most often doesn’t. The problem of pain has been addressed by minds far greater than mine, and I know and believe all of the great and pressing reasons God allows suffering even though I don’t like it or sometimes understand it. But even so, there are times when life seems so backwards and upside down, and I wonder….what’s the point of following a Savior that so seldom seems to save?

And then I see that very thought anticipated in Jesus’ question posed to Peter and the other 11 disciples in John 6. He knew we’d have these days, these thoughts, these times when we’d wonder….what’s the point? But Peter, so often impulsive and seemingly thoughtless in his reactions, knew the answer. It’s a deep answer when you think about it, and not one I’d typically associate with him either; though maybe the simplicity of it should point me toward Peter more than any other. We follow because Jesus has the truth, of course. He has the words of life. In fact, He IS the Truth. No matter how bad life is, how much we hurt or ache or rage at things we cannot fix or control, we are following the Truth. There aren’t many things worth grounding our life on but this is the one thing…HE is the One Thing…that is worth every bit of all we are for all of the days we have on this earth. A lie, no matter how pleasant, is not worth a minute of our time or thought. But the truth, no matter how difficult, is worth everything. And so we give up everything to follow Him, sacrificing our bitterness at the pain and letting the Truth bring perspective and even some comfort—albeit often austere—to our hardship and heartache. Everything falls to the wayside when we are following the Truth because nothing else matters. No matter how badly it hurts, we want the TRUTH, not a lie.

Do you have the truth? If you aren't sure, you might think about it. Do you want the truth? It’s pretty costly; but it’s REAL and present and never-changing. Seek Him and you will find Him, that’s the promise we’ve been given. If you don’t have the Truth, I pray you find it in Jesus. If you have Him, but find yourself in the grip of pain of some kind right now, I pray you find comfort in knowing that you are following the Truth and someday that following will be vindicated. The hardship will be over and there will be only glory and love and joy and peace forever.

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