“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:67-69)
During this unprecedented and unpredictable time of quarantine, where do we turn to find the comfort we so desperately need? Some turn to TV binge-watching. Others indulge in favorite foods. Still others engage in activities and hobbies. As I have been driving our South Florida streets in recent weeks, I would surmise that many people have turned to physical fitness. It’s certainly true that these and many other activities can provide some measure of comfort, but if we stop there, we will find ourselves devoid of the true comfort that we so desperately need.
Where have you been turning in search of comfort? If we turn to some form of activity in search of comfort, we will find that even the really positive ones serve as little more than a distraction from the stress and loneliness and uncertainty we are all experiencing to some degree during this pandemic. But when we turn to the Almighty, we discover rich deliverance from that stress, loneliness, and uncertainty. In our passage for today, we read that Jesus turned to His disciples after a number of people who had been following Him had turned away and asked them directly, “You do not want to leave too, do you?”
Why did so many desert Jesus? Because He was not leading them in the direction they wanted to go. The people wanted a military leader. They wanted a political personality. They wanted an earthly king who would reestablish the throne of David in Jerusalem. But this was not why Jesus came into this world. He came not to remove the power of Rome over Israel, but to remove the power of sin, Satan, and death over the whole world by dying on a cross. When the people realized that Jesus was not going to give them what they wanted, they turned away and no longer followed him (John 6:66).
To be sure, no one wants a global pandemic. No one wants to have their lives put on hold. At times like this, we are all confronted with two choices: we can walk away from Jesus or we can press even closer to Him, no matter where He is leading. Remember, Jesus promised that we will experience painful providences in this life (John 16:33), but He also promised to be with us in them and through them . . . and that includes this global pandemic.
There is nothing wrong with turning to some healthy activities that will distract us for a time and provide us a measure of comfort. But to experience the kind of comfort we need to actually flourish during these uncertain days, we must turn to the Almighty, who will provide us lasting comfort in this life and eternal joy in the next.
Peter really said it all: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Perhaps he was recalling the words of the psalmist –
I lift up my eyes to the hills —
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)
You are in my prayers and in my heart.
Purpose and Passion,