Missing Jesus: Help for the Lonely Traveler

We put our trust in Christ alone for the forgiveness of our sins, desire to please God with our life, and yet, our day-to-day experience of faith lacks the vitality we know it should have. We feel like we’re missing something and we probably are. We’re probably missing Jesus. In their new book, Missing Jesus: Find Your Life in His Great Story, Charles and Janet Morris write, “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.” As a preview to their book, which releases March 1, Janet offers some thoughts on how much we need Jesus at the center of all of our experiences.

I opened the glossy envelope and there was my life all summed up:

“Janet, as the companion of Million Miler, Charles Morris, we are pleased to award you MileagePlus Premier Gold status.”

That sentence says it all, especially this last year when it seems we’ve made a trip nearly every other month. The gold status means the long layovers can be spent in the comfort of a lounge with tea and coffee and snacks provided. But in spite of the perks, there’s a downside to traveling so much, at least for me. I wake up many mornings not knowing exactly where I am. Chicago? London? Amman? Lilongwe? Or is it Albuquerque?

Charles always seems completely grounded wherever he is the world but to be honest, I love waking up and realizing we’re safe at home in our own familiar bed.

And to be really honest, even when I’m safe at home I can have that same, disoriented feeling I have when I travel.

Because I can miss Jesus.

I can wake up in a state of exile with my heart a million miles away from home, and just see two options for facing the day—either living it on my own, disconnected from the Lord, or trying hard to find my way back home to him.

Thankfully, by God’s grace, there’s a third option. I can wake up and realize that I’m already safe at home in Jesus.

Because that’s what the cross did.

That’s why Jesus chose to go there—to take away my never quite getting it right, and my often getting it very wrong, and all the alienation that comes with that. Those are the very things that send my heart into exile and it’s those very things that Jesus tore down and cleared away so he could bring me close, so close that he could say, “Remain in me.”

Paul says it 73 different times, that phrase, “in Christ,” and I need to realize it again every day. There’s no million-mile journey back to Jesus. I’m already there, safe in him. I can live my day in that safe place with all the guilt and condemnation gone and all his grace supplied to me for free. And tomorrow morning when I wake up jangled by life and isolated and uneasy about where I stand with the Lord I can realize it all over again:

I am in Christ.

Never did I need it more than that morning 10 years ago when I slowly emerged from sleep and remembered: “Our son is dead from a drug overdose and today is his funeral.” Facing all those people, facing the service, facing the lowering of his body into the ground—all of it was hard enough. But what was impossible was the thing we’d decided to do. We were the one who could speak firsthand of Jeff’s precious value, we were the ones who’d heard the Lord speak words of deep comfort—so we decided that we were the ones who should do the funeral.

I knew I couldn’t do it.

But lying there that morning it came to me that gutting it out pathetically on my own, or bailing out altogether, were not my only options. Jesus offered himself to me as a refuge and I stepped into him like stepping out of a storm. All that day I was sheltered from the shame that could have descended on my head. All that day I sensed him crowning me with love and giving me power to testify about his death that won the victory over death.

I lived that day in Jesus.

But I don’t just need him on those worst of all possible days. I need to wake up every single day and remember that I’m not in exile anymore—I’m in Christ and “There is now no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

Missing Jesus: Find Your Life in His Great Story


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 books—Jesus in the Midst of Success and Saving a Life—and is also a women’s Bible study teacher and leader. Her third book, Missing Jesus, Find Your Life in His Great Story, comes out March 1. 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.

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