Patrick Mead is running a new series on his blog about what happened to the disciples after Jesus ascended. It’s been very interesting. Yesterday, I finished reading his entry on Thomas, and something in it struck a nerve.
In John 14:1-7, Jesus tells the disciples not to worry. He’s about to leave them to return to the Father, but he’s going there to prepare a place for them, he’ll return later and take them with him. Jesus also tells them that they know the way to the place.
Thomas then asks the obvious question — We don’t have a clue where you’re going. How can we know the way? (my paraphrase)
This sentiment feels familiar to me. There have been plenty of days when I wonder in my mind — and occasionally even aloud — God, I have no idea where you want me to go, what you want me to do, where you’re leading me. How am I supposed to get there?
Let me explain. When I was young, I actually believed them when they told me that God had a plan for me. And I know a plan when I see one. Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, . . . , Step 41, Step 42. Ta-da! Plan complete! Now that’s a plan. You follow it step-by-step. You get to the end and achieve the goal. It’s a way to go from where you are to where you want to be. Or in this case, where God wants me to be.
In the last few years or so, I’ve begun to question whether God really has a plan in the same sense that I’ve been expecting. My walk in Christ just doesn’t fit the image that I’ve had of God having a step-by-step plan for me. Either I’m missing it or it’s not that kind of plan.
Thankfully, Thomas fleshes it out for me.
When Thomas tells Jesus that they have no clue where he’s going or how to get there, Jesus doesn’t answer with a detailed plan or turn-by-turn directions (Garmin Nuvi-style). He answers by telling Thomas:
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6 — That’s the verse you use to brow-beat someone when they think that you can get to heaven some other way than Christ. Okay — I believe that’s true . . . well, not the brow-beating part.
But maybe there’s something more here. Instead of looking for a step-by-step plan from God to guide my every major decision, maybe I need to be looking at the Way / Truth / Life that he’s already given me.
As oversimplistic as WWJD seems, maybe that’s exactly what I need to be considering. There are no step-by-step directions to follow. Just follow Jesus because he leads the way to my final destination and hopefully he’ll help me be a blessing at all points between here and there.