I missed a few things while driving cross-country. At the grocery store in my new hometown, celebrities dominate magazine covers next to the gum. Opinions and conflicting comments fill Facebook as people weigh in on Josh Duggar and Caitlyn Jenner. Most sound surprised. Now that I’ve landed in my new hometown, forwarded my mail, and finished a load of laundry, I’m not surprised. In fact, I think Jenner, Josh and Jesus speak to us all.
Life is a journey to a place of restoration. Until we reach our destination, the way is often marked by confusion, emptiness, and even destruction. Wandering is experienced by those without a relationship with Jesus and by those struggling to follow Him. We all make our way to restoring what has been lost by sin. So why does the flailing and faltering of two human beings stir us up? Why do their journeys bother us so deeply?
Having come freshly off the highways of ten states, I’m impressed with how people are alike. After all, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23). We all need to know who we are, why we’re glory-fallen, who God is, and how to get back the glory.
Perhaps revelations of a young man’s once-hidden sin against innocents stirs up fears our sins might be revealed. Maybe in finding another’s fault to detest, our own failings feel smaller. For many, the sin-type committed by Josh Duggar is familiar, since 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually molested before age 18. Most victims were assaulted by someone they knew, many in their safe place: home. Many offenders attempt to satisfy longings by damaging others. Perhaps expressing our horror helps us feel like no one will turn an analytical eye to our offenses or injuries. Regardless of the route, every story leads to the same place. We all need and long for restoration.
Caitlyn Jenner’s revelation feels easier to judge; most of us won’t ever walk her road. We find it hard to imagine her journey. But not all of us. Some understand how sin-stirred longings lead to confusion, emptiness, and destruction to the point of gender upheaval. When we question or reject the very sex of our being, the need and longing for restoration reach their peak. Still, some hope reversal of God’s form and function might lead to restoration of God’s friendship. Could our emptiness be answered by undoing the very person we are? Maybe some despise Caitlyn so much because he/she dared to say what many would never admit: we wish we could re-create ourselves. We all need and long for restoration.
Jesus isn’t surprised by Josh or Jenner. In ways we can’t, He knows their hearts. He saw their longing-journeys, and He watched as they carved scars of confusion, emptiness, and destruction in their lives and others.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
Jesus sees our need to know who we are in Him. Even if our journey isn’t infamous or celebrated or formatted on a magazine cover, we all have identity issues.
- Caitlyn Jenner lives the life of one without Christ.
- Josh Duggar lives the life of one struggling to follow Christ.
Only Christ knows the heart of each. Only Christ knows our hearts.
Hear this from Jenner, Josh and Jesus: We all need and long for restoration.
I know I missed a lot while traveling and transitioning, but I think Jesus wants us to focus on the answer to our need. How sad if the followers of God become so consumed with calling out our failings that we miss the provision for our longings. Jesus sees mankind’s hunger, thirst, need and longing. He is the answer for it all, for Jenner, for Josh, for me, for you.