One Man’s Journey

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – John 14:1-6.

How many of you would agree with me this morning that life is hard?

Things just happen à many of which we have no control over:

  • Where we were born
  • Who are parents were
  • How we were treated growing up
  • Someone we love and are close to dying
  • Loss of close relationships
  • Natural disasters (hurricanes, floods, fires, tornadoes, and other things that can be devastating and life-destroying)
  • Economic hardship
    • I think most of us knows how it feels when you don’t have 2 nickels to rub together in your pocket, and you don’t even know where your next meal will come from

There are also things that happen in our lives as a direct result of the choices we have made.

One thing is certain – all of these things leave us with feelings of emptiness and hopelessness, and sometimes despair.

There were 2 men in the Bible who expressed the same thing that you and think with life is not working out the way we want it to—

  • Job, in the midst of all his troubles cried out to his friends à “I really would like to talk to God face to face, and ask Him some questions, but there is no one who can stand between us.”
  • Asaph said “Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped.”

This is the dilemma that we all find ourselves in at one point or another. Life is hard, we have no answers, we don’t know which way to turn, and often end up going down a path that leads us to our own destruction.

  • This is what Solomon says in Proverbs, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

Add to all the pain, trouble, and confusion that comes simply from living, there is something deep within us that longs for acceptance and approval from others – parents, friends, family, and others around us.

Added to that, and for the most part, something that never occurs to us is the fact that each one of us—like it or not—has something deep inside of us that longs for something more. Those of us who have trusted Christ know that deep inner longing is the desire to be right with God.

Herein lies the problem—God the Father loves you more than you will ever now, and desires to satisfy the deepest longings of your life, but there is this huge wall between us—SIN.

The whole message of the Bible is God unfolding His plan of redemption so that the wall between us could be removed. That is the message of the gospel. That is why Jesus came, died, and was raised again!

In our text, Jesus was nearing the end of His earthly ministry, and was getting ready to die on the cross. The conversation was upsetting and disturbing to the disciples. They were overwhelmed and confused, so Jesus said to them, “Don’t let your heart be troubled!” Then He begins to talk to them about the Father’s house, and that He would come and take them there. Jesus expressed His great desire for them to be with Him in His Father’s house.

Thomas asked what everyone was probably thinking, but were afraid to ask, “We don’t know where You are going, so how can we know how to get there?”

That’s when Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to Father except through me.”

Let me illustrate this with my own story.

As a child, I was raised in a very traditional family. We were not well off, but got by. Imagine growing up in a family of 7 with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom! Add to that—we only had 1 car, and my day drove it to work every day!

I was a fairly good student, and actually made good grades. But by the time I was 15, I was around friends who thought that the party life was the only way to go. At that time, I began to drink heavily, and that would last for the next 10 years!

I graduated from high school, and was fortunate enough to get a partial scholarship to attend Clemson University (Go Tigers!). Here, I was, a young man of 18 away from home for the first time. Now I could really live the way I wanted to. It wasn’t long after arriving at Clemson that I added drugs to my regular consumption of alcohol. I thought that this was real living!

After a year at Clemson, I transferred to the College of Charleston to pursue my dream to be a doctor. There I connected with the Fraternity that I was involved with at Clemson, and soon settled down in my same old routine of drinking, drugs, and partying.

During that time, I got in a relationship with a young lady and we ended up getting married. The next 4 years, I finished college, got a got job, had a child, and thought that everything was great. Still drinking a lot, but no more drugs.

During that time I was working the 3rd shift at a paper mill so I could pay the pays and finish my degree. It was here that I met a man that would forever change my life. He was a paper handler, a big, muscular guy who never really said anything. One day as we had some down time, I was reading the book, “The Exorcist.” This man saw me reading, and walked, took the book out of my hands, and said, “If you want to read about demons, read this,” and he handed me a New Testament.

Well, being bored, I began to read, first Revelation, then Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John…

It was during that process that one day, my wife walked in and announced that she was leaving. I was devastated, and my well built world began to fall apart. She left, I drank more, and life was really messed up.

You are probably thinking, “What has this got to do with the text!”

Well, as I was reading through John, I came to chapter 14, and read, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me.” It was like getting hit with a sledge hammer! The light came on! I was at the lowest point in my life, and my heart was breaking. The words about the “Father’s house” began to melt my broken heart. I realized that I was far away from God, and that all my efforts were doomed for nothing but failure.

So, on October 26, 1976, the old Chuck Norman died, and I was adopted into the family of God, and the wall between me and God was broken down!

This passage in John 14:1-6, has for this man, been the most special of the Bible, because it was through what Jesus was saying to His guys when their heart was breaking, that my heart was forever changed.

So, let’s look at what Jesus was saying here in verse 6…“I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father except through me.”

There are many ways that we think are good and right…

  • Our way
  • The world’s way
  • The way our peers are living
  • The way of religion
  • The way of no religion
    • Did you happen to hear or read about the Pope’s message this week – You can be an atheist or agnostic, and still go to heaven. You don’t have to believe in God, only follow your conscience!

The only problem is that none of these can bring us to the Father’s house! They only leave us…

  • Empty
  • Disappointed
  • Hopeless
  • Bitter and angry

I wish I could tell you that my life has been free from those things since I was saved almost 37 years ago, but I still wrestle with trying to do things my way, have my plans and dreams, and you know what—that still leaves me empty, disappointed, hopeless, bitter and angry.

So, what is the answer?

  • Psalm 27:4 – One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.
  • Luke 10:42 – But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
  • Philippians 3:13 – Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

Folks, that can only happen as we come to Jesus. He is the only way that we will find healing, purpose, and fulfillment.

Let me leave you with 2 thoughts—

  • Luke 9:23 – And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:2 – For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Even today in another online group, there are discussions over so many things I have no control over what so ever. I would have been totally overwhelmed, depressed and worried beyond belief if not for my faith in God. He is still on His throne. I know what I’m supposed to do. My heart is not troubled if I keep my focus upon Him. It’s not easy living in this fallen world but not of this world.

  2. The answer to your question, “Is life fair”. Well after looking at my life for the last 10 years i would say no. But amiss of the hardships we try to learn to be content where the Lord has us but sometimes there is that little something in our hearts he need to surface. Considering where i am right now i am grateful to have friends to help. But last night was interesting. I had a dream where i was back with my mom. Something got broken and she wanted me to fix it and i could not. she got my dad involved and now i was getting upset. To the point i refused to comply. As i awoke from the dream i realized that God has me (for now) where he wants me. And he showed me that i am NOT content where i am. (I have always had confidence that my carrier field could always provide me the finances to live comfortably.) So i left my discontentment at his feet last night in tears and i will keep walking that path of life until the right door opens.

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