I was barely a teenager the first time I considered Jesus as “the way, the truth, and the life.” With the road stretched out in front of me, the concept seemed true, but one for the grown-ups to wrestle with.
In college, on the heels of a difficult breakup, I found myself facing a crossroads. With shame nipping at my heels, these words provided glimmers of hope to light my way out of a dark pit of regret.
Five years later, on the first Easter since becoming a mother, I wept. Now that I had a child of my own, the gravity of God’s sacrifice took on enormous weight. His answer came in the whispered words of John 14:6.
For the next decade, a wave of mostly good and pleasant things kept me from thinking too deeply about much else.
Then a series of challenges rocked my well-manicured world. The realistic possibility of losing a child revealed a desperate longing for those words to be absolutely true, in a nothing-else-matters way.
Now, as the half-century mark looms more closely than ever, I suppose I’ve reached the age my teen self imagined might devote sufficient brain power to the concept. The longer I’m on earth, the more I recognize my need for a savior.
Dr. Tim Keller said, “The reason most people don’t have peace with God is because they don’t believe they are at war. The Bible repeatedly says there’s a hostility to God. In fact, Paul says in Romans 8:7, ‘The natural mind is enmity toward God. It will not submit to God, indeed it can not.’ That is one of the most radical statements in the New Testament—a statement people do not want to come to grips with.”*
Keller says we cannot really live in connection with God until we appreciate how much we despise him. I spent much of my Christian life thinking I need to be reconciled because of God’s holiness. That’s part of it, but the rest is rooted in my desire for his position. If I’m honest, I hate that I don’t get to be in charge! In this way I despise God.
To fix this problem, I need the way, the truth, and the life. It’s the only path to reconciliation path that will “stick.”
It has taken me more years than I want to admit to come to this understanding. Maybe there was no sidestepping the time and experience I needed to get here. And this isn’t to say I’ve arrived—that won’t happen this side of heaven. The longer I live, the more deeply I can lean in to my total dependence on my Father, my Savior, my Jesus.