Where else will I go?

eternal lifeA sad, sad day is about to happen in the town where I live. A tragic day is imminent. Over and over I’ve heard, “Where will I go now? What will I do?”

Sitting peacefully in a certain bookstore’s cafe, sipping my latte, writing in my favorite cozy spot, I so relate to the dismay expressed in voice after voice.

“You’re closing? Oh no!”

Alas, tis true. There will be no more new-book smell. No more comfy chairs, in which one is encouraged to read for hours. No more leather bound journals, of which I admit to be somewhat of a snob. I always ruin cheaper journals long before I’m finished filling the pages, but I digress.

Perhaps it’s the beginning of the end of the great American bookstore. Well, at least in my town it is. Where will I go to write? Starbucks is generally too noisy– my home, generally too quiet.

How will I ever know the new releases? Where will I get to indulge my love of children’s literature, sitting blissfully on a tiny bench entranced by a clever tale?

There is no lasting security to be found here. Yes, a sad sad day indeed. I feel the void already.

Where else will I go?

Even as I mull this thought, I’m reminded of a conversation between Jesus and his disciples and of the eternal ramifications of such a question.

“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

Merely hours earlier Jesus had fed a multitude with only a handful of bread and fish. But He went on to name Himself the Bread of Life. He was the bread that would cause mankind to never hunger again. He said He was the bread that would forever nourish the soul. He was the One who satisfies the hunger to know God.

Many did not understand his message that day, and so left him, their minds preoccupied by bellies full of bread and fish. Less than a dozen truly understood.

Physical bread wouldn’t last. To have a full belly was a momentary thing, nourishment that constantly needed to be replaced. Likewise, my peaceful spot at my favorite bookstore is clearly fleeting, temporal. Indeed it will not last. The millions of words in thousands of books will one day fade away. But Jesus gives the words of eternal life. He gives deep, perfect, soul-satisfying nourishment.

Unwittingly, the customers pose an eternal question, “Where else will I go?”

It’s a question so much bigger than cozy reading spots and leather bound journals. It’s a question much bigger than bread and fish.

The disciples knew there was no where else. There was no one else. They heard, believed, and knew that Jesus was the Holy One of God. They knew He alone could satisfy a void much bigger than that left by an empty bookstore.

My friends, perhaps you wrestle with this eternal question also. There is but one answer- Jesus, the One true Savior. He holds the words of eternal life.

When all else is transitory, He gives what is permanent. Life. Eternal life.

Lord, teach us that you satisfy. You alone can meet our deepest needs. You alone fill the hungry soul. Help us know this experientially. Remind us that you alone are unchanging when all else is fleeting. Where else could we go Lord? No where. For you alone have the words of eternal life.

This post by Ami, appeared first at A New Season Ministries

Ouch. This one hurts.

More thoughts for Lent. This one hurts. Yet, there is beauty.

I don’t know about anyone else, but the further we get into this time of preparation, the more God has brought my sin to light. I see some ugliness in my heart, and I hate it. Since we can be real with each other, I’ll let you see it too. Here goes. I don’t trust that God is always doing good in my life, and by proxy I don’t always trust that He is good. Therefore, I worry. I fear. Sometimes I call these things anxiety to make myself feel better about them, but at the root they’re sin. I also struggle to be content. Sometime I think God’s given others a better life. In this case, my sin is being consumed with the things I don’t have but think I need. The struggle itself is not the problem. It’s when I’m so consumed by my plans and desires that I disregard what God wants and knows is best.

Today our reading looked me straight in the eye, and then kicked my butt. “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body to make you obey its passions.” Ouch. That hurts. I mean, can’t we just talk about promises and gifts? However, I have a sneaky suspicion I’m not the only one that occasionally needs some tough love.

Romans 6:12-14

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”

The gospel of grace presented in Romans isn’t merely for theoretical, intellectual, and even spiritual understanding, it is also for practical, in the trenches living. Through Christ I am dead to sin. It no longer holds tyranny over me. I’m also alive in Him, raised in newness of life. These things He has accomplished. Therefore, because I’ve already been brought from death to life, I can obey. Furthermore, I have a responsibility to obey. I can defy sin. And all these sin patterns I mentioned do not have to rule over me. In fact, I’m commanded that they don’t.

Rather, the natural overflow of being buried with Christ and raised with Him is to present myself to God. I think this is submission or surrender. My “members,” eyes, ears, hands, feet, voice, mind, and heart etc. are representatives of the whole. Romans 12:1 says it this way. “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Paul says putting yourself on the altar is reasonable. Instead of being ruled by sin, I surrender to be ruled by God. So by grace, I repent of these sins, and humbly surrender to God for His purposes, His plan.

Here’s the clincher. Verse 14 is a promise. Though I will still struggle with sin till I die or Christ returns, sin will not ultimately triumph. I’m under grace to know both God’s goodness and His fullness. I get to be in the new covenant, in which the gospel of Jesus empowers me to obey, to trust, to be at peace, to know God is good, and to know that He alone fully satisfies.