A pilot announced to his passengers that three of the plane’s four engines had conked out. A few seconds later he came out of the cockpit, walked past them, and put on a parachute. He opened up the back door and just before jumping said, “Don’t worry folks, I’m going for help.”
This world is filled with people who will bail out on a difficult circumstance when the sledding gets rough. They won’t be going for help either; they’ll be looking out for themselves. Sadly, too many times this applies to how we Christians relate to following Jesus.
One of the most somber questions that Jesus ever asked is found in John 6:67. Let me set the context for you. A tremendous crowd of 5,000 men (not counting women and children) gathered around Jesus to hear Him teach near the slope of a mountain hovering over the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus miraculously fed this crowd by using a young boy’s lunch of five loaves of bread and two small fish. Following this miracle the crowd tried to take Him by force and make Him their earthly king. Wanting no part of such an election, He dispersed them and commanded the twelve to get into a boat and cross over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Then He went up into the mountain alone.
That night a terrible windstorm swept down onto the Sea of Galilee, preventing the twelve from making much headway to the other shore. When they reached a state of exhaustion and despair for their lives, Jesus walked on the water, calmed the storm, and joined them in the boat. At that point the boat was miraculously transported to the other shore.
The following morning many of the original crowd got into boats and crossed over to find Jesus. They caught up with Him in a synagogue in Capernaum. Shortly afterward, Jesus accused these people of only following Him for His miracles. Then He launched into a weird teaching about Him being the bread of life and how they needed to eat of His flesh. You talk about throwing cold water onto a fickle bunch! When the teaching was finished, they turned away and never followed Jesus again. Just as He had said, they were only interested in following Him as long as the miracles were rolling and the teachings were pleasant and easy to understand.
It’s at that critical moment that Jesus looked at His chosen twelve and asked the penetrating question, “Do you also want to go away?” Some of them may have, but Peter spoke up before anybody else could answer. He said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also, we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Good for you, Peter!
Tell me, Christian, are you right now going through a difficult time with the Lord? Are you confused? Are you frustrated? Are you out of heart? Has He hurt your feelings? Trust me, you aren’t the first to go down such a road. The question is, how will you respond? Will you turn back from following Christ? Or will you, like Peter, understand that turning away from Him is akin to turning away from the source of life and truth? Please understand that I’m not talking about a Christian possibly losing his or her salvation. As the old saying goes, “once saved, always saved.” What I’m talking about is breaking fellowship with the Lord and bailing out on what He is trying to teach you through your difficult times. Trust me, such a bail out might provide a modicum of temporary relief, but in the end you’ll come to know all too well that you should have stayed on the plane with your Savior.