“They said to him, “Who are you?” John 8:25
We used to take students at camp for environmental education on a hayride to the Frosty Frog ice cream parlor. When the ice cream was being served, the driver of the hay wagon would leave to turn it around to bring the students back to their cabins.
One evening, when I was driving the hay wagon, I left to walk up to where it was parked. As I walked in darkness, I heard the sound of an animal walking in the woods along side of me. It could not have been more than 20 feet away. At first, I thought it was a deer. Then a branch snapped and I realized it was a bear.
The inability to see in the darkness, the sound of a branch breaking, the fear of being so close to a bear, all made running a natural reaction. As I sprinted towards the truck, the sound of the bear running in the same direction was quite clear to me. Then, without warning, I ran full force into the side of the hay wagon. It knocked me down to the ground. Still panicking, I picked myself up and felt my way into the truck and safety. When I turned on the headlights, there sat a big black bear looking at me like I was crazy.
There are times I feel this incident is reflective of my faith life. When life is ordered and working as it should, it feels like I’m walking in the light of Christ. Yet, when something stops functioning as it should. When some fear producing event intercedes into the order of things, I realize how dark the path is I walk. It leaves me asking Jesus, who are you?
Doubts and questions swim freely in my mind when I’m walking in darkness. Maybe Jesus is nothing more than a lucky charm I rub for good luck? Or, is he just a teacher trying to correct my behavior? Maybe, he’s like a fairy tale hero I was told to believe had power. Eventually, my despair hits a wall and I remember something expressed in this reading. We don’t look behind Jesus to see God. It turns my thoughts away from my own understanding to the mystery of God. The mystery that God can be transforming me even when I don’t fully understand how. This is when light fills my path and I can see hope in the midst darkness.
Click to read: John 8: 21-31
- What about faith is clear as day to you?
- When do you find yourself walking in spiritual darkness?
- How would you answer the question, “who are you Jesus?”
- What does the line, you don’t look behind Jesus to see God, mean to you?
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