It’s been a few days since I heard a challenge from Pastor James in the weekend service. He spoke openly and vulnerably to the church after the worship song, “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” He reflected on whether or not he could honestly say those lyrics, “I’d rather have Jesus” – and mean it in his heart.
His kids had just returned to Europe after spending time in Calgary for Christmas and he was missing them. He told us he would rather have them at that time, and was struggling with truly feeling like he would want Jesus in place of his children.
In that moment I was struggling with really feeling in my heart that I’d rather have Jesus … I’d just been in Minnesota with my family and I was missing them terribly. In fact I watched the service from home on my couch; I didn’t even want to be around people. I was sick and wanting to be back in the care of my parents who took care of me for the last 9 days. So there I found myself, sick in Calgary, questioning God why I was here and not in the comfort of my parents. My longing for family was much stronger than my desire for Jesus that day.
… I let Pastor James’s statement reverberate over my situation.
How often can I honestly say I’d rather have Jesus? I’d rather have Jesus than anything else.
I know I can honestly say I’d rather have Jesus than a lot of things. I don’t consider myself a materialist person so I can easily and confidently say I would rather have Him than possessions, wealth, and material things. But more than anything?!
At times it would be much easier, in discomfort and longing to say I’d rather have family. I’d rather have that relationship. I’d rather have comfort. I’d rather be healthy. I’d rather satisfy my human desires, desires of the flesh.
I’m not sure why we feel that way, I think we trick ourselves into thinking something “tangible” is the answer. Something temporary. But what happens when that tangible thing like family isn’t around anymore, or the love we once felt from a spouse is vanishing, or if we become sick again and our health and comfort are gone? We fall back into that constant struggle of finding something to satisfy that void.
I know it’s 100 percent true too … I’d be lying to myself if I thought that it wasn’t! Every single time I am with my family I’m on a high. I love being with them, because I’m lucky to have an earthly family who loves me unconditionally. They’re not only my family and friends, but spiritual mentors for me. In my life my family has been an example of Christ. So I know it’s not wrong to cherish our times together. But when my vacation is over and I return to where God has called me and my husband now … I forget a simple truth…
“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere” Psalms 84:10.
The relationship God wants to have with me is better than being anywhere else, with anyone else or any other thing. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully grasp that. But I can sure try and I believe there’s a lot to be said about admitting that we’re fighting our human nature to hold that truth over our lives. To say, while I’m struggling, that I’d rather have the love of Jesus than any other love is necessary. Because our walk with God is a journey – we’ll never have it all figured out.
But it’s a journey we can reflect on and grow on. Maybe at the start of this New Year we can reflect on the times where we’ve truly learned to desire to have Jesus, and only Jesus. Those are the times where we see our faith grow immensely. That time of wrestling with God is also when He can reveal Himself to us. When we cry out to God He makes Himself known.
And maybe at the start of this year we can’t honestly say we’ve ever known a time where Jesus was the true and only desire of our hearts. Let’s make this a year where we’re honest with God about that struggle and ask that He reveals Himself in our lives.
… We won’t be disappointed.
Written by Briana Southerland
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