Is Jesus Enough?
It’s spring of 2021! Upon returning home to East Tennessee after traveling for over two weeks while serving local churches for Life Action, I find myself hopeful. Creation is declaring hope as the tulips and daffodils bloom around me. Crowded airports and restaurants along with people returning to church also seem to cry out that there is hope. There’s an upbeat spirit in the air again.
Yet I ask myself, “Is this where my hope lies?” My questions multiply from there: “Is hope found in things returning to normal and spring arriving in all its beauty? Spring arrived in 2020, but it was filled with death and despair. And is ‘normal’ just going back to a life of busyness? What about the possibility that hope may be found even in the middle of riots, shootings, natural disasters, political unrest, suffering, and death?”
In the early 1990s I traveled to the nation of Belarus after Communism fell. I met Pastor Constantine, who had been imprisoned for seven years in a Siberian jail. His hands were malformed due to arthritis, which had severely affected him during those freezing winters in jail. His crime: sharing Jesus with children.
Pastor Constantine radiated the joy of Jesus. My husband, John, asked him how he endured prison. His response: “John, do you not know?” John replied, “No, I do not. I’m sorry.” With a smile that radiated the glory of Christ, Pastor Constantine said, “Jesus is enough.”
Pastor Constantine had learned what Paul shared with the Romans: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17 NIV). When we suffer, when all seems hopeless, Jesus is enough.
Pastor Constantine’s hope in prison was not that he would be released or even that he would live, but that Jesus would sustain him. He had learned what Paul had taught the Colossians: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
As I look back on this past year, many times I wanted to add to Jesus. My hope was not just in Jesus but in Jesus plus something. Jesus plus health. Jesus plus family. Jesus plus financial security. Jesus plus ministry. Although there is nothing wrong with any of those things, they become idols in my life when I add them to Jesus and attempt to find hope through them.
How does one keep Jesus at the center of it all despite the never-ending distractions and chaos of life, and even in the face of death? This past October, my precious mom-in-love, “Grams,” went to be with Jesus. Her last days were difficult ones.
Although she had no symptoms of COVID-19, she had tested positive and was placed in isolation. None of her family were allowed to visit her. She was facing death alone after living her life as a faithful wife, mom, grandmother, and servant of the Lord.
As she grew weaker, the nursing home made a decision to allow one family member to come visit her for fifteen minutes. Cindy, her daughter, went to visit her after suiting up in protective gear. By the time Cindy was able to see her, she had become unconscious. Cindy sat by her bedside, holding her hand, and began to sing Grams’ favorite hymn, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” (My husband actually came to know Christ as this hymn was played years earlier.)
As Cindy began to sing, Grams opened her eyes and mouthed, “More.” When the fifteen minutes drew to a close, Grams actually sang the name of Jesus along with Cindy. Jesus was her last spoken word. She went to be with Him just hours later.
Death did not bring fear to Grams in that moment. She had lived her life believing Jesus was enough, and now she knew He would be enough for her as she entered into the presence of her Savior.
When we suffer, when all seems hopeless, Jesus is enough.
Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 for us not to grieve as those who have no hope. Our hope is in our Savior and in knowing that one day we will be reunited with Him, whether it is through death or at His return. Will you make Jesus your last word?
As we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, may we continually ask ourselves, Is Jesus enough? Our lives need to be centered on what His life was centered on.
Luke 19:10 says Jesus came to seek and save the lost. If my life and my church are to prove that Jesus is enough, then we must align our lives with His mission.
When we are tempted to become distracted with lesser things or to add things to Jesus, may we sing loudly with our lives: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
There is indeed hope—because Jesus is enough!