From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “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.”
You Have a Place to Go
A woman was expecting twin girls. During the pregnancy it was discovered that their bodies were conjoined in the womb. They were joined at the chest, stomach, and hips, and they shared their liver and intestines. This happens roughly once in every 200,000 births. There’s only a 35 percent chance that both babies in this situation will survive even a single day after they’re born. The mother eventually went in for a c-section. The doctors worked on the twins for 5 hours. One died. The other survived but was in critical condition.
Sometimes difficult situations like this compel people to do what many disciples did in today’s verse. They turned away from Jesus and no longer followed him. “If Jesus is so loving,” someone might ask, “why would he allow a baby in the womb to die?” “Why would he allow a mother to suffer in that way?” “Why does God allow certain bad things to happen?”
Often, from our limited perspective in life, we don’t have clear answers to these heartfelt questions. We often don’t know why God allows some babies to die so young but allows thousands of other births to happen without any complications or problems.
But we do know that God understands how difficult moments like these are. God also knows how it feels to be crammed in a womb with very little chance that he’s going to live; not because he was conjoined with a twin, but because he chose to conjoin himself with a world of sin. He knew that countless men and women would walk away from him, doubt and question him, when all he was guilty of was keeping his Word that nothing would stop him from saving us.
Do we understand how hard that was for him, to be born knowing that his flesh would one day be torn and bloodied? We don’t need to; we only need to see that it happened. When we look at Jesus and his cross, we don’t see or understand everything, but what we do see at the cross is that God really will stand by our side through anything. He really can make the best kind of good come from this world’s greatest pain, and that not even our worst moments of doubt, weakness, confusion, and sin can keep us from one day seeing and understanding exactly what God has prepared for us in heaven.
That’s why Peter answered the way he did when Jesus asked the Twelve if they wanted to leave him too. “To whom shall we go?” he said. “You have the words of eternal life.”
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for giving us a place to go in our pain. Fix our eyes on the cross of our Savior, Jesus so that we never fail to see the eternal love God has for us all. Amen.
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