BY JEROME BAYBAYAN
This is the twelfth in a series of posts. Today’s reflection is on John 14:1-6.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where [I] am going you know the way.”*
Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
– John 14:1-6, NABRE
For much of my life, not knowing what the future holds fills me with crippling fear and anxiety. This has been a continuing battle since childhood.
I find myself constantly questioning God as I wander the world in search of where I’m supposed to fit in. I’ve known the love of God my entire life and yet I struggle with putting my complete trust in Him. The troubles of my heart make me question my every step, and every step often feels like I’m walking on thin ice. I’m afraid that I will fall in and drown.
Why has this happened to me? Why have you chosen me to live this life? Why can I never have my way? How can I put my faith in you God, when I can’t see or don’t know what the future holds for me?
These conversations with God make me question the deeper meaning of His will for my life. I question whether or not I am worthy of being responsible for all that God has given to me. This is something that I often feel in the day-to-day responsibilities of working in full-time ministry. I get to experience people’s daily walks with God, and as much joy as it gives me, it also makes me ask the same question everyday:
Am I worthy enough, God? With all my brokenness, am I worthy enough to love the world the way that you do?
I think back on all the heartbroken moments: the days where I cried or had to put on a brave face. All the times I’ve heard people say or do hurtful things, moments of feeling unwanted, when I was too depressed to even pray. All the confusion about my identity and the pressure to wear different masks just to please people. All because I couldn’t figure out who I was, but more importantly, who God wanted me to be.
It’s especially in moments such as these when I asked God, Was my life really worth living? And the even bigger question I asked God was: Where is my place in this world, God? Where do I fit in?
Reflecting on this reading from the gospel of John has allowed me to re-acknowledge this part of my life, but at the same time, reminds me of a greater and more important message than what I can fathom with my own human understanding: Trust.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
This verse has been such a big part of my upbringing in knowing that God is the hope of my heart. When we draw close to the cross that is His Son’s, the Father fills us with grace, displacing the the troubles of our hearts so that we can recognize our worth in our Father’s eyes.
We may not always be happy with what cards we are dealt with in life. But as great the pain of suffering is, an even greater joy comes with knowing that we have been given the strength to overcome.
So even throughout all of the hills and valleys of life, I’ve found that loving and serving God has given me the most joy. God’s love for me, a sinner, has always helped me reach my highest good. Because it’s only through Christ crucified, can we come to know the resurrected Christ. The Christ who knew that through His passion and death, it would reveal the glory of God’s kingdom.
Have I found my place in life, or the one place that I fit in and feel accepted? I don’t know that I have discovered an answer to that question yet. But this I know: that although Christ calls us to be in this world, He also reminds us that our residency here is not permanent. So I take comfort in trusting that, as I continue to wander the world, God has already prepared a place for me in the kingdom of Heaven.
JEROME BAYBAYAN is a California homegrown 30 year-old big kid at heart. He was inspired by those who helped him in his walk with God to work in ministry full-time: first, as a Youth Minister and now as a Director of Religious Education in Vacaville, CA. He is passionate about accompanying people in their walks with God and helping people love the Lord more fully. His favorite Disney movie is Hercules, and loves all things Marvel and DC. If you want to make him happy, just feed him.