Once upon a time, I made a little girl’s profession of faith.
My ears heard the story I had heard since I drew my first breath.
God created you. Sin wrecked you. Jesus died to make a way for you. Choose him.
My heart snatched onto these words because all at once it knew them to be true.
And I believed.
It was honest. It was genuine. It was enough.
A decade later, I was mired in adolescent angst.
In retrospect, my life was decidedly not that hard.
But at the time I felt betrayed. And angry.
I locked myself in my room and scrawled my angsty thoughts onto paper, filling notebook after notebook.
One whole year.
And then, out of nowhere, I heard Jesus.
It sounds crazy, I know, but it is as close to an audible voice as I have ever heard.
It was an ultimatum. Walk ahead with me or walk away. Today. Right now.
Knees on my bedroom floor, the answer rushed from my heart without hesitation.
Where else would I go? You alone have the words of eternal life. I believe and know that you are the Holy One of God. (John 6: 68-69)
Those words have come back to me over the years.
As I’ve lived through days much darker than my notebook scrawling year.
Days burnt out on ministry, wondering if I could ever love the church that Jesus called his bride.
Days of fear and picking up pieces of dashed dreams, wondering if there was still a place for me.
Days of holding a raging child, terrified of what people would think if they really knew.
Days of interminable waiting, begging for resolution and getting only resolve.
Days of aching, of walking around with a giant gaping hole in my heart and trying to pretend it was ok.
And many, many days of holding stories. Stories too hard. Of abuse and unfaithfulness. Of self-hatred and self-harm. Of terrible diseases and relentless love. Of so many Little Ones lost too soon.
If you’ve lived any time at all, you know we aren’t immune to these too-hard stories just because we love Jesus.
But where would I go? You alone have the words of eternal life.
The words come again this morning.
As I wrangle a squirmy toddler and sing in faith words that I desperately want to be true.
For me. And for all the dear ones with the too-hard stories.
You alone have the words of eternal life.
Only here, in those words, can we be anchored. Secure. Hopeful.