Can I tell you about the moment when I knew Jesus was real? It was during a time very similar to our current state of the world: 9/11/2001. You see, up until that awful day burned into my memory forever, I wanted nothing to do with Him. There were too many things in the Bible that seemed unfair. Case and point:
"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out and find pasture." - John 10:9
Notice Jesus didn't say "a" gate? He said, "the" gate. He is the only opening for us to have a life with God.
I questioned how God could be so narrow-minded? I mean, really, only one way? How fair is that? What about all of those people who never heard of Jesus, why would you abandon them? These questions gave me enough reason to run from him rather than try to find the answers. And I ran until that one heart-breaking day.
I'll never forget the uncertainty and fear that coursed through my body as I drove to chem lab. The radio DJ kept playing soundbites from Twin Towers coverage, and I kept thinking, "this is a joke, right?" I soon figured out; it was no joke. It was pure evil and terror.
I sat with roommates and classmates as the story unfolded each minute, hour, and day. I called my parents and friends to check-in. And then I placed a phone call that made no sense, but it was the call that changed my life; to my peace-filled, wise youth pastor and mentor from high school, Pat. I hadn't talked to her in a few years, so it was a little out of the blue (although I don't think she was surprised one bit). The words burst from my mouth the moment she picked up: "what is God doing?"
Well, technically I went to Pat first, but my knees hit the floor as soon as we hung up. Slowly, I approached the God I ran from for way too long. That day changed my eternal trajectory.
That's the thing about Jesus: He's always inviting us to walk through the gate. Especially in the times where we can't explain what's going on around us. He wants his precious children safe in the sheepfold. Notice what comes right after Jesus calls himself the Gate in John 10:
The thief's purpose is to kill, steal, and destroy. My purpose is to give [you] a rich and satisfying life.
In times where you see hurt and suffering all around you, the enemy wants to destroy your faith, and kill your hope. The thief would love nothing more than to convince you God is unfair, harsh, and unworthy of following. But the wisest thing you can do is join His flock. Sheep find rest in the shepherd's care. The way to a full life in these scarce times is through the Gate. The only Gate that is also the I AM.
It's okay to ask questions. I still have a lot of questions. But more importantly, I can come and go freely to the Father through Jesus.
He called me to the gate, and he calls you too. If you want my advice; go through it.
March 3, 2020