Once we become Christians, we start to hear all about how we need to share the good news. After all, Jesus himself said to “[g]o therefore and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). But as we focus outward on others, do we forget about our own relationship with God? Do we really know who Jesus is? Or did we miss him completely? Charles and Janet Morris’s new book, Missing Jesus: Find Your Life in His Great Story, addresses how even after salvation, we can still feel that God-shaped void in our soul. “We can start to treat the crucified Son of God like it’s all about us, and He’s just an accessory who adds a little glow to our existence,” they write. If this rings true to you, you may then say, “OK, great, but how do we find Jesus again?” As a preview to their book, which releases March 1, Janet offers some how-to suggestions for putting Jesus back at the center of your life. It’s time to evangelize to yourself.
The first interview was last Wednesday. 8:00 AM.
Believe me, I prayed. But as we sat at that table in the studio with those headphones clamped over our ears and those big circular microphones in front of our faces, my mind was wiped clean like an empty hard drive. There was nothing there.
The interview was about a book we’ve just written. We titled it Missing Jesus but it’s really about not missing Jesus.
We know from personal experience how even as believers we can miss Jesus and how our lives shrink down when we do. And we know how our lives expand when we’re seeing Jesus and taking in the glory of his grace.
I was immersed in the writing of the book for months on end, but when the interviewer asked what it was about, for the life of me I couldn’t remember.
Thankfully, Charles comes alive in front of a microphone and after a few minutes of letting him carry the conversational ball, I was able to chime in and say a few things.
But there was that one question I couldn’t answer: What do we do? We all want our lives to center on Jesus, but how do we do it? Ever since that interview, I’ve been trying to answer that question. Why did it stump me? Now I think I understand.
I needed to remember that God isn’t asking us to do something … he’s asking us to see something.
“What do I do?” is my automatic response, that natural tendency I have to think it’s always up to me. It’s such good news to realize that God doesn’t want to me to go there. He wants me to look away from myself to Jesus, to comprehend the fullness of his grace, to take it in and let it set me free.
But still it’s a valid question because sometimes no matter how hard we try, we can’t see Jesus.
Over Christmas, I read John Milton’s description of what it was like when he lost his sight in midlife, how he would roll his eyes around and peer with all his might and still not be able to see. It was frightening to read because I could relate. I know that helplessness of looking and not seeing. What do we do when it’s like that, when we’re a lot more like blind Bartimaeus than the eagle-eyed apostle John? What do we do when it all just seems remote and unreal and disconnected from the life we’re living?
I’ve been reading the journal I kept over those months of writing the book and it’s helped me realize just how often that’s true of me, how I end up like Bartimaeus with his non-functioning eyes and have to pray like he did, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” It’s made me remember that there really is something we can do—we can go to Jesus.
We don’t have to sit passively on the side of the road accepting our blindness as our lot in life. Jesus is always saying, “Come to me. Ask me for what you need. Tell me what you want me to do.” When Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus didn’t hesitate. He said, “I want to see again.”
I have to pray that prayer pretty much every morning, “Jesus, I want to see again.” It’s what I can do. I can ask him to open my eyes. And I can know for certain that when I ask, he’ll always answer, again and again, because that’s what he does—he gives sight to the blind.
“Blessed are your eyes, because they see,” Jesus says. (Matthew 13:16).
Janet Morris is a mother of three, a grandmother of three, and wife to Charles Morris, the speaker and president of Haven Ministries. She helps write the programs for Haven Today, has co-authored two other books—Jesus in the Midst of Success and Saving a Life—and is also a women’s Bible study teacher and leader. Janet confesses that she also drinks one pot of Chai tea a day, talks to her dog, and is close friends with C.S. Lewis. But most of all, she needs Jesus every day.