The sign blared at us as we turned down the dark, unfamiliar road. My chest heaved, my heart raced as I braced myself for the oncoming traffic. My husband and I were driving late at night in the seaport capital of a foreign country, and we suddenly found ourselves heading down a one-way street… the wrong way! Fear overtook me as I imagined the calamity to come. Thankfully, we were spared catastrophe: my husband was able to turn the car around and get us headed safely in the right direction. Our cries to God were answered!
That event occurred on our honeymoon, and if you would have asked us then, my husband and I would have told you we were believers. We believed in God. We believed in Jesus. We knew the Bible stories. We attended church. In fact, we knew that church needed to be at the center of our marriage, and we purposed to find a home church before we were married. I mean, the very fact that I prayed to God on our honeymoon—and that He answered—should be evidence of my faith, right? If truth be told, however, when I privately considered the idea of Jesus being the one way to God the Father, flashbacks to my honeymoon experience arose.
“One way” felt so confining. So anxiety-ridden. So pressure-filled. What if I couldn’t find that “one way” to Jesus, and—even if I found it—what if I didn’t know how to enter? What if I didn’t know how to answer His questions or complete His assignments? And even if I entered this “one way” gate, what then? What would I be asked to do or (even scarier) no longer do? For the first several years of my marriage, that is how I lived: God-believing church-goer on the outside, fearful doubter on the inside. And as a fearful doubter, faith became something I defined my way.
That approach worked fine for a while. I lived life according to The Wisdom of Linda. I pursued the American dream of career, consumption, and having kids. At the end of the day, though, no vocation or vice was able to fully fulfill me. And the hole in my heart grew even wider when my ability to have children vanished. I found myself having done everything the world prescribed for the pursuit of happiness, but feeling emptier than ever before.
“God, what am I doing wrong?” I cried. And then, in a fit of failure, I upped my pursuit of worldly wisdom. I found myself walking down pathways I never thought I would and participating in activities that shocked me. How had I gotten so off track? How on earth could I turn this life around?
In that very season, Jesus spoke to me. When the shame of my sins exposed how far I was from God, Jesus showed me He would bridge the gap. Through new acquaintances and their stories of redemption and redirection, I learned that God wasn’t asking me to find a way or make a way to Him. He showed me that He is the way (John 14:6)! The One Way to the Father through His death and resurrection. He revealed that the emptiness that consumed my soul was a void only He could fill. And through His word, He showed me the plans He has for me, a life that is far more fulfilling than my own plans and one that cannot be realized apart from Him.
Maybe you are like me. Maybe you also feel like Jesus’s “One Way” message is as frightening as the traffic sign I encountered on our honeymoon. For a long time, I felt the same way. But Jesus showed me otherwise. He opened my eyes and my heart to embrace Him as the Way, and my life has taken on a beauty and purpose that I never could have imagined. I no longer have to make a way or find a way. I am walking in the way that God designed for me from the beginning. Oh, how I pray you will walk in that way, too!