Nowhere Else to Go

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

John 6:68

I was not much of an athlete in high school; I had a pretty decent singing voice, so choir was my #1 extracurricular activity. In my three years of senior choir I had many favorite songs, but one in particular sticks out - the gospel classic “Take My Hand Precious Lord” by Thomas Dorsey (and has been sung by all sorts of people including Elvis Presley!). The song begins like this:

Precious Lord, take my hand

Lead me on, let me stand

I'm tired, I'm weak, I'm lone

Through the storm, through the night

Lead me on to the light

Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

A number of things immediately stick out - the writer of the song is tired, alone, and too weak to continue on by themselves. So they cry out to God, asking him to lead them to the peace and safety of home. Can you relate at all? The song nearly brought me to tears every time we sang it so many years ago, and it still gets me today.

I have a feeling Joni Eareckson Tada probably loves this song as well; in her devotional “Nowhere Else to Go” she starts by asking us to pray for people who live with mind-bending, never-ending chronic pain (I am one of those people). She writes:

Even now, at this moment, there are those living very near you who are at their wit’s end. No pain medication, no position in bed, no homeopathic treatment, and no surgery will help. Still, those who rely moment by moment on Jesus have not given in to despair. One woman in this condition quoted from today’s Scripture: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

I find myself in this place often, wondering how in the world I’m going to get through the day when I feel like I can barely make it through the next five minutes. In times like that it’s good to be reminded of the faithful presence of Jesus; I’ve lived with chronic pain for almost nine years now, and if nothing else those nine years as filled with examples of how Jesus carried me - and my wife and kids - through the darkest of places. The presence of his light is often enough to bring joy and peace to days when it seems as though there isn’t a single good thing in this world.

Here in the studio is a printout of some great words from writer and author Ann Voskamp:

Today isn’t about
maintaining control of everything.

It’s about maintaining your gaze on Him
in the midst of everything.

Today isn’t about
straining for perfection in everything.

It’s about reaching for The Perfect One
in everything.

Today isn’t about
getting through everything.

It’s about letting Him carry you
through everything.

That last one really got me - that life isn’t about getting through everything in our own power and strength, its about letting Jesus carry us, allowing him to be our strength.

Those are words I need to hear right now; maybe you do too, or know someone you love who needs to hear them. In her conclusion Joni wrote these words:

If you find yourself in a dead-end situation, don’t run from Him. Don’t turn your back to Him. Don’t head in a different direction. Simply put, you have nowhere else to go. Trust anew in the One who has the words of life eternal.