With a sense of urgency and heaviness—Jesus’ heart unquestionably pregnant with emotion—desire burst from His breast to impart final encouragement and wisdom to His beloved followers.
Imaging His face, full of love mixed with pain, hope mingled with dread, I cannot fathom the enormity of the job laid before Him.
If you had one week left to live, what would be most critical to convey to loved ones—words of wisdom, encouragement, warning, hope?
Listen in on Jesus’ final discourse with tuned ears and an open heart.
“No, I will not abandon you as orphans – I will come to you…I am leaving you with a gift- peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is the gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John.14:18, 27)
My heart strangely warmed, I long a place beside Jesus as He journeyed with His apprentices through the Kidron Valley, exhortation flowing from His every exhalation.
With absolute adoration, Jesus reassuringly commissioned His followers before His gruesome departure.
But are these promises applicable in today’s volatile culture—hatred, stress and anxiety running rampant? Why don’t we feel empowered and hopeful every moment with such gifts at our disposal?
For myself, I too often look to the world’s offerings to bolster me.
Yet what promises to satisfy leaves me stressed and anxiety-ridden. And like a dog returning to their—well, you know—I go back for more! What’s wrong with me?
If you’re like me, allured by the world’s way to fulfillment and peace, you’re not alone!
Jesus declares His peace is other-worldly, but how does it differ from the world’s?
- One is hopeful; one—despairing.
- One is harmonious; the other, divisive.
- One is calming; one—frenzied.
- One is charitable; the other, self-serving
- One—restful; one—a relentless taskmaster.
Nothing and no one can replicate what Jesus offers.
Yet, we find ourselves like Solomon, author of profound wisdom literature, searching desperately for what only Jesus offers. (Eccl.2:11)
Poor pupils of history, we’re easily anesthetized and seduced by society’s empty promises, searching for significance and meaning from every counterfeit source known to man.
Yet there’s nothing new under the sun (Eccl.1:9); we’re left empty, even depressed and suicidal—more than any other time in modern history.
Why am I continually sucked in, easily swayed by all our culture avows will satisfy?
I don’t pretend to have this faith journey figured out, but this I’ve learned: I’m beckoned back to His arms upon seeking His presence and soaking in it.
Jesus singlehandedly satisfies the soul with delight.
I must spend time with Him, looking and listening for His assurances of hope, love, acceptance and wisdom, or I quickly fall prey to the latest feigned path to satisfaction, spiraling down the slippery slope of insecurity, fear and unbelief.
Because what I pay attention to changes my thoughts, I also seek out life-giving content. My favorite podcasts shepherding me back to “things above” (Col.3:2) are:
The Next Right Thing—Emily Freeman
Things Above—James Bryan Smith
How do you experience Jesus, and what might you ask of your audaciously generous Savior—
- Peace in the storm
- A few moments of quiet
- A good cry in His arms
- A restored marriage
These good gifts wait for you, and galaxies more. He owns everything!
What did He deny His followers, or those bold enough to ask?
I find no denials, rather, report after report of lavish generosity for anyone willing to ask, timidly or audaciously, is detailed.
Even grazing His garment commanded His healing power! (Luke 8:43).
This is the power of hope, faith—of asking.
Jesus is utterly and completely reliable.
Friend, what do you need, today, this minute? Nothing is too big, inconvenient or insignificant.
Latch onto His robe, soak in His presence, and ask!
And then, remind yourself, a hundred times a day if necessary—He is the giver of GOOD gifts.
“Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.” (John 16:24b)