Being all alone.
Even for an introvert, who loves going to the library, who wears ear buds on planes so my seat mate won’t begin conversation, who happily goes to the movies solitaire- even for me, being ALL alone sounds awful.
To be alone means no one lends a hand or gives a hug or greets me with a big hello because they are glad I came home.
But there is a worse kind of alone- the kind that would exist in the absence of the Lord God. THAT would be unimaginable. My protection would be removed and the daily mercies that give me breath would be absent. But for Believers that sad fate is impossible. God is the God who NEVER LEAVES. Never. Guaranteed.
If the Lord never leaves me, then He goes with me into every battle I face now or in the future. Moses tried to prepare the Israelites for this. They faced years of battles ahead as they stood on the border of the Promised Land and if they forgot about the Lord’s continual presence they would falter.
- And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, 'Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the LORD your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.' (Deuteronomy 20:2-4 ESV)
At times in my life when I need to fight a battle or explore new territory, fear loudly mocks me and predicts my doom. Yet, I can counter those feelings with courage that comes from the guarantee of the Lord’s presence on the day of battle and beyond. His words to Joshua, as he prepared to enter the Promised Land, apply to me as well.
- No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you… Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:5, 9 ESV)
David knew fear and exhaustion. He was pursued by King Saul, who wanted him dead. The many difficult years David spent fleeing, hiding, and fighting might have broken others. For David, however, they were a crash course in the leadership and decision-making ability he would require as king. God’s companionship transformed the difficulties.
- Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 ESV)
Decades later King David would instruct his son Solomon how to persevere through the challenge the Lord had given him- building the Temple. If He gave Solomon the job He would stay beside him and enable him to complete it.
- Then David said to Solomon his son, "Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the LORD God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished. (1 Chronicles 28:20 ESV)
Fast forward a few hundred years and the Lord’s promise continues in the same vein. To His people, who have rejected Him and sought other gods, He still promises to strengthen them, hold them, provide for them, and NEVER forsake them.
- fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand…. For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you." ... When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. (Isaiah 41:10 ,13, 17 ESV)
The Israelites faced difficult centuries. They would be conquered, driven from the land, and would FEEL like God had abandoned them. BUT- He NEVER LEAVES. Even while enduring the judgement they deserved, the God who is near would accompany them. How grateful I am that regardless of how circumstances overwhelm me, my Lord is always beside me.
- But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. … Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…(Isaiah 43:1-5a ESV)
After His resurrection, Jesus gave what is commonly called the “Great Commission” and sent His disciples out into the world to take His word and to make disciples. Every Believer since then has received both the same instruction and the identical promise: Jesus remains with us always! He doesn’t send us to do the work of the Kingdom on our own- He is our constant companion.
- And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)
Whatever current challenge faces me, whether money, health or relationship troubles, I am not alone and need never fear. The older I get the more I treasure this truth!
- Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:5-6 ESV)
- Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV)
Oh Lord, Your presence is the ONLY way I can be strong and courageous. Otherwise, loneliness or fear corrode my resolve and breed doubt.
I am so grateful that as I face battles every day I have You by my side. Please give me the courage to go every place You send me and to fight each battle You assign me. The fact You never leave is the only reason I CAN fight, rather than give in to fear and panic. Help me to remain aware of You.
Thank You Lord, that when fear threatens to dismay me, I can lean into You because You are near and the solid ground I can stand upon. Even when life feels more like the valley of the shadow of death than anything else, I don’t need to fear BECAUSE You are with me and never leave.
Lord, thank You for the difficult jobs You have assigned me in this life. I want to faithfully complete them, but they are hard and threaten to overwhelm me. I am grateful that WITH the assignment comes the promise that You will help and strengthen me. You carry me through floods and protect me in fires. Because I am precious in Your sight and Your hand holds me, I can obey.
Oh Jesus, I want to tell others about the beauty of life with You. Wherever You send me to make disciples, I will go. Thank You for never sending me anywhere that You won’t go. You are my Helper! I need never fear. I praise Your constant companionship.
Friend- regardless of what you face today, the promise that the Lord will NEVER LEAVE you stands. Isn’t that an amazing comfort? Even the deepest, darkest dungeon cannot keep God away from us.
As you walk through the day I hope this truth will encourage your heart. If there is a moment you feel lonely or abandoned, stop and thank the Lord who promises to never leave. He is right there with you!
- For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them. (Deuteronomy 4:31 ESV)
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