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  • Writer's pictureShannon Makujina

Don't Let Me Go!

In the Chosen, a multi season show about the ministry of Jesus and his disciples, Season Three ends in a strange way. Simon Peter, originally an enthusiastic follower, gets depressed when he comes home after a trip with Jesus, to find his wife has miscarried their child–a baby he didn’t even know they were expecting. Season Three follows him as he wrestles with the tough question: If Jesus is healing so many others, why didn’t He heal my wife? Why would he heal some and not others? Why would he not take care of the ones closest to Him?

In the middle of a storm, Peter sees Jesus walking towards the disciples on the water and instantly cries out to Him. He steps out on the water, shouting out questions angrily at Jesus.

And then he begins to sink.

The last episode finishes with a scene that brings me to tears every time; Peter clinging to Jesus as they get back into the boat, sobbing, pleading, “Don’t let go of me! Don’t let me go!” over and over again.

Those are the same words I have found myself crying out to God, over and over. The past few months have been a time of heavy realization that if I don’t have Jesus, I have nothing, and if I have Jesus, I have everything.

I just have to remind myself of it so often. Sometimes I ask God the same questions Peter was asking. Why does it seem like all the bad things happen to me? Why do I fight so hard to make a tiny bit of progress and some huge setback comes and knocks me back where I started? Why the everyday battle with PTSD? Why do I have to wake up every morning, already exhausted from a night full of horrifying nightmares?

When I stare into a blank space of terror, my eyes fixed on an awful memory replaying in front of me, where is Jesus? Where is my fourth man in the fire? Where?

I want to scream it out sometimes. I’m just being real. Sometimes I do scream it.

I mentioned in my last blog about the concept of Gospel hope–a hope we have regardless of the situation, because we know that Jesus has secured a future for us.

Y’all. It’s something I wrestle with everyday. But here is what I’m realizing.

The world is going to suck, with or without Jesus. Pain is not unique to Christians. Atheists have problems too. But if I don’t have this Gospel hope, I might as well lay down and die right now. Because the world is a bad enough place without the promise of another. And as many questions as I have, when I find myself in tears, desperate, and empty, I cling to Jesus like Peter, and just beg over and over: Don’t let me go!

You see, if I don’t have Jesus, I have nothing.

I have no hope.

I have no forgiveness.

I have no one worthy of my trust.

I have no one who can love me.

I have nothing.

Here’s the other thing. I’m learning that Jesus is the only one who can take awful things and redeem them.

Something happened to me this summer that makes me cry and hyperventilate to even think about. It was something that only happened in my worst nightmares, something that I was positive would never happen. It made me suicidal to even contemplate it.

It happened.

And I can say, even as I write this, even as my tears fall on the keyboard–it was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Truly the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Because God is using all that pain in my life to show me how much I need Jesus. And I don’t know if that could have happened any other way.

All those nights that I cry, now I don’t have anyone to go to, anyone to talk to. I’m learning to cry out to God.

Sometimes I get frustrated and I wonder if He’s hearing me. But when the silence gets awful enough, I try again.

I still pray for my cup to pass. I pray for healing in that shattered relationship. I pray that God will give me the desires of my heart.

But I also tell him thank you.

Thank you, Jesus, for loving me enough to show me that there is nothing better than you.

Thank you for giving and taking away.

Thank you for what you are teaching me in this waiting.

And I beg Him. Don’t let go of me. If I don’t have You, I have nothing. Just nothing. Don’t let go!

I have unanswered questions. But I am learning to take comfort in a God who knows the end before the beginning. I can laugh and smile and cry as I face a future that I’m scared of, when I remember that Jesus already knows what that future is. And with Him on my side, I know that future is a good one. He is good enough to give me Himself, and good enough to take other things out of my life so I will know Him more fully.

I have many nightmares, but this song came to me from God in a dream. It’s from the hymn Be Still My Soul, a old classic, but this is a verse that rarely makes it into the hymnals. In fact, I had only heard it once or twice before, years ago. But in my dream (I don’t remember what it was about), someone sung it to me.

Be still my soul, when dearest friends depart

And all is darkened in a veil of tears.

Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,

That comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.

Be still my soul! Thy Jesus can repay,

From His own fullness, all He takes away.

He can bring visions out of nightmares and build beautiful things out of broken pieces. He can turn tears into laughter and sorrow into songs of praise. He can take the worst things and redeem them. And with Him, I can say, “I would have fainted, unless I believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

I have nothing else. And so even though I know He will never let go of me, I still pray that I will not let go of Him.

“Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:12)

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