Journeying with Jesus is the journey from hopeless to hope-FULL.
For one like me who had unsuccessfully battled with depression for years, this concept of being “full of hope” seemed to always be beyond my grasp.
Therefore, I struggled to believe.
How could so many wondrous promises from God actually be for one like me?
I simply did not understand how any of this “abundant life” could manifest in one, who constantly stumbled over the contradictions that “seemed” more powerful that the Bible’s truth.
As I said…
I grew up in church.
Yet, what I discovered when I began to read the Bible as an adult, now a broken, burned and returned prodigal, is that the God I thought I knew?
Well, I really didn’t know Him at all.
I knew stories of others who knew Him.
But what I realized one day is that my believing could not be solely based on what someone else knew.
In my own journeying, I had to get to know this Jesus for myself.
And even more critically, I had to develop an intimate personal relationship with this One who is called, the Holy Spirit.
In short I needed “Someone” a lot more powerful than myself to take over.
Much like Carrie Underwood’s song, “Jesus take the wheel…” I needed this reality to manifest in my moment-by-moment daily life.
There is a key to victory
For me this key came in a teaching series Charles Stanley did about learning and understanding who I am “in Christ.”
And more importantly, who He is, “in me.”
These words kept me coming back to find God’s more:
Then on the most important day of the feast, the last day, Jesus stood and shouted out to the crowds—“All you thirsty ones, come to me! Come to me and drink! Believe in me so that rivers of living water will burst out from within you, flowing from your innermost being, just like the Scripture says!” John 7: 37-38 TPT
All you thirsty journeying ones…
Jesus might as well have shouted, “All you frustrated ones. All you weary and depressed ones. All you who want to believe, but just can’t get past your unbelief… your failures… your dark depression… your inner shame-filled battles…”
That was me.
Cruising in and out of church each week, reading my Bible, listening to sermons, singing songs, but absolutely miserable inside, and not understanding why none of it was working for me!
I wanted an abundant life FULL of hope. Who doesn’t? Especially if you are one of those “thirsty ones” Jesus shouted to.
So, where was I making my wrong turn?
A desperate woman
I love the story of the woman with the issue of blood:
Suddenly, a woman came from behind Jesus and touched the tassel of his prayer shawl for healing. She had been suffering from continual bleeding for twelve years, but had faith that Jesus could heal her. For she kept saying to herself, “If I could only touch his prayer shawl I would be healed.” Just then Jesus turned around and looked at her and said, “My daughter, be encouraged. Your faith has healed you.” And instantly she was healed! Matthew 9: 20-22 TPT
Here was a truly desperate woman! She had spent all of her money trying to get well. Yet she was still “unclean” under Jewish law. To touch a rabbi’s robe as an unclean woman was a stoning offense. She had to know she was risking her life and she didn’t care. She had come to the end of her rope. If Jesus was truly the Messiah? Then she knew that the promise in Malachi 4: 2 would bring her healing:
“But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.”
A thirsty and desperate heart
If you are desperately thirsty?
Then you are ready to be healed.
And this I know from personal experience—Jesus responds with tender compassion to the desperate.
“Your Creator knows that true transformation comes by a relationship— a powerful relationship with Christ where love’s torrent covers our sin and makes us lovely in His sight. Just as relationships in the past had the power to wound and scar our souls, downloading lies into our thinking, so a passionate pursuit of the Bridegroom holds the key for the deepest level of change in our personalities. Jesus does not come to scare us into submission, but to woo us into friendship with Him. God delivered His transforming truth and the grace for change in a relational package; the person of His Son. Grace has a face; and His face is smiling.”
Brian Simmons, Song of Songs: The Journey of the Bride
So let’s take a journey. And in our journeying, let’s invite the Holy Spirit into our desperation, so we can discover His way to an abundant life of unhindered hope.
Lord, help us.
Some of us are dealing with such heavy burdens—but you said we could bring our burdens to You, and You would carry them for us.
Lord, we want to live lives full of hope—not heaviness.
Show us the way to do this Jesus.
We bring our thirsty desperate hearts to You, knowing, You will not reject us.
You have every answer we need.
Thank you for loving us and leading us back from our hopelessness to Your joy-FULL hope!