The Way, The Truth, and The Life by Allie Crume
When I was seventeen, I went on a mission trip to a rural village in Belize that I strongly believe to this day is the most beautiful place on earth. And when I was seventeen, I thought I knew how to do a mission trip right. I memorized my testimony and I had that diagram of the cross and the two cliffs down pat. But I found out pretty quickly that missions is about a whole lot more than sharing the Gospel with people who haven’t heard it. As I got to know the streets of a small Belizean village called San Antonio, it became much more about loving and learning from the people who already had.
Two days in to this trip, we went on home visits – easily the most intimidating job of the trip for me. Just because I knew the Gospel didn’t mean I knew how to share it well. Fortunately for me, a leader from the local church came with us – an older woman with a kind smile named Sarah. The residents of the first house we visited spoke little English, so we sat by the door with our translator while Sarah stepped forward. She began talking with the man who lived there about the church in the village; what did he know about her church and the Jesus it followed? He talked excitedly. He had a daughter who was a Jehovah’s Witness, family members who were Catholic, friends who were Mormon and Mennonite and Protestant, some who practiced and some who didn’t.
They talked back and forth for a few minutes, then suddenly he looked at Sarah with something serious in his eyes. “All of these different religions say they are Christian,” he noticed, then asked, “How do we know which one is right?”
Today, I am in my second semester of pursuing a master’s degree in American history, and my favorite class is called “History of Religion in America.” You might guess why. Every Wednesday, we meet to talk about the different religious movements that have developed in the States – since the colonists landed at Jamestown four centuries ago right up to who and how social media and television broadcasting gives a voice today. Our conversations naturally revolve around Protestant Christianity, the most prevalent practice in our nation, one that is often viewed as foundational to our culture, society and politics. And sometimes in these conversations, I wonder about the other students in my class, about the friends I have on Facebook, about the people who park their cars next to mine in the commuter lot at my university: are they as confused as the man I met in Belize? With so many denominations and diversity in practice and precepts, how do we know which one to believe?
I learned the answer in Belize when I was seventeen. The sun slanted through the window and onto my backpack as I pulled out my heavy NIV Study Bible and turned, at Sarah’s request, to John 14, verse 6.
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
I will never forget the quiet that came after I read those words, a silence that stretched across seconds while Sarah smiled behind closed eyes, nodding her head slowly.
“That is the answer. Jesus is the right one.”
I had never heard the Gospel spoken so simply, and it changed my entire life. I don’t have to copy a chart anymore, or type up my testimony. I just need John 14:6. That’s how I know what to believe.
Does the world, with all of its conflict and confusion, overwhelm you some days like it does me? Look to Jesus. He promises to show you where to go, what to believe, and how to be filled. The way and the truth and the life – it’s who He is. He is the right one, and He is holding out His hand.