The Right Answer
…by Chuck Graham
One day a man lay dying. We were good friends but had not seen each other in a while. He had cancer which had suddenly grown worse. When I received news of his condition, it was already too late. As I looked at the email, an accusing voice shouted in my head, You are not here!
One day a boy left home. I’d known him all his life. Before heading off to college, he had a severe asthma attack. I asked his dad for his son’s cell number so I could stay in touch and encourage him. But the dad declined. As I read his text message, a judging voice said, You are not needed!
One day a pastor joked. As his sermon touched on marriage and divorce, he said, “I hate lawyers, not specifically, but generally.” People laughed. But one lawyer suddenly felt alone, frustrated, disappointed, and hurt. As I heard the words, a condemning voice spoke, You are not loved!
We long to belong, and we are important to Jesus.
Three days. Three people. No one meant what that voice had uttered, but how easy it can be to feel so alone, separated from those we care about. Friendships, family, church. We long to belong. Yet there was another voice…a whisper actually…that said simply, Do you love me?
Jesus once asked the same question of Peter…three times! Peter replied, “You know that I love you.” Seeing John following them, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me. 1
For Jesus, there was more going on here than just matching Peter’s previous three denials that he knew Him. Jesus was not talking to a crowd or His Disciples. He was speaking to one person. Why? Because one person was important to Him! And it still is.
Yes! I am here! I am needed! I am loved!
The voice that cries out, “You are not here…You are not needed…You are not loved”, is overwhelmed by Jesus who thunders, You are important to me! Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. 2
He looks into our hearts and asks, You, do you love me? We hesitate, remembering our failures and weaknesses, what others say of us, and those who act better, know more, feel deeper, speak truer. Then Jesus wraps His arms around us and says, If I choose others for something, what is that to you? You must follow me. So…do you love me?
May you see Jesus’ heart, follow Him, and answer, Yes! I am here! I am needed! I am loved!
Take care & be God’s,
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international ministry devoted to sharing God’s encouragement and teaching how to encourage one another. Also an author and speaker, Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org .
Footnotes : (1) Read John 21:1-23; (2) Read John 12:26-27.
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