Nowhere Else to Go, by Steph Beth Nickel
The following devotional is from a series I am writing for HopeStreamRadio. I also plan to publish an e-book featuring these pieces later this year.
Jesus’ teachings weren’t—and aren’t—always easy to understand. In John 6, He speaks of the bread that came down from heaven. As a result, many of His followers left Him. His teaching was just too hard for them to grasp.
When He was alone with His disciples, He asked them a pointed question.
John 6:66-67 reads as follows: “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?'” (ESV)
Simon Peter, in keeping with his nature, was quick to respond. He said in John 6:68-69, “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.”
Jesus’ disciples didn’t fully understand all He had come to accomplish—or how He would fulfill His mission, but there were times like this that one or more of them expressed great faith.
These verses became very important to me a few years back, when my dad died. I have been a Christian since I was a child—many years ago, but this event was difficult to handle. If you think of my belief system like a house, it was as if my dad’s death knocked the entire structure down and left me huddled on the foundation.
But that’s okay because I had arrived at the same conclusion as Peter: There was nowhere else to go.
When the disciple made this proclamation, I don’t think he understood what Jesus was saying about the bread and the cup any more than the others did, but I do think he knew enough to realize there was no other place to turn for truth, solace, and meaning.
In Luke 7:47-49, Jesus says, “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
The storm that was my dad’s death and the emotional and spiritual turmoil that went with it battered my dwelling place, my faith, but no matter how the storm raged, I was secure on the Rock, the Foundation, the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Did this have anything to do with my efforts? No, and here’s why. While I had put my faith in Christ, I wouldn’t have done so if God hadn’t drawn me to Himself—which He did because of His grace, not because I somehow deserved it. There were times I dug deep (through prayer and Bible study, both alone and with others). However, there were others when I let these spiritual disciplines slip. But every time I asked for forgiveness, I found that He was right there waiting for me, arms open wide.
As it says in Luke 7:47, we are to come to Jesus, take note of His words, and do what He commands. But we often fail to do so. Still, at times, life happens, and there’s no-one to blame. We take a beating and are left with nothing except the foundation of our faith. But Jesus is a sure foundation, and we can rest assured that we can again build on the foundation that will never crumble.
Uncertainty marked my life for a while—and I still have many questions that won’t be answered this side of eternity—but my foundation was secure, unshakable. My foundation was—and is—Jesus Christ, the Holy One of God.
[Questions or comments for Stephanie? Leave them below!]
Stephanie is a freelance writer and editor. She writes under the pen name Steph Beth Nickel. She co-authored Paralympian Deborah L. Willows’ memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances. Among other places, it is available from Castle Quay Books and Amazon. Steph has been blogging since 2010 and is a regular guest on Kimberley Payne’s site (fitness tips) and Christian Editing Services (writing tips). She will also be writing and recording regularly for the newly-formed Hope Stream Radio. Stephanie is an active member of The Word Guild and InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship