Never Alone

I’m the kind of person who enjoys time alone – time to think and recharge. But being truly alone isn’t a good feeling. I once went in for a surgical procedure and as I was being wheeled through the hallway, I experienced utter aloneness. No friends or family could go in with me. I was surrounded by strangers who had my life in their hands. It was a minor procedure, as these things go, but minor or not, the feeling was there.

None of us likes to be alone, at least not in the true sense. Our friends and families give us a sense of belonging and the comfort of help in time of need. Sometimes even the presence of strangers can be comforting. It’s a bit unnerving to walk into a place that should be filled with people to find it empty. It makes you wonder if a movie-type disaster of some kind occurred and you’re the only one left!

In reality, we are never alone. We often pray for God to be with us or with others, but it’s not necessary if we remember he is always with us. Jesus lives his life in the hearts of believers so there’s never a time when his presence isn’t closer than a breath or heartbeat. I’ve stopped praying for God to be with those for whom I’m praying, as I realize he’s already there, loving and taking care of them. It would be sad indeed if God had to wait for us to pray before he could intervene in people’s lives.

What about those who claim to have gone through a long, dark night of the soul? Even though we can’t argue with experience, we can question the premise that would lead people to believe God has abandoned them. Does God leave us on our own for periods of time to teach lessons or test us? If he truly lives in us, how could this happen? Our lives are completely intertwined with his and couldn’t be separated without our complete and utter decimation! Just as a parent wouldn’t leave a child alone to cry and flounder helplessly, neither does God leave us alone. The Holy Spirit teaches us by leading and guiding, not by abandoning us to our own devices and the pitfalls of life.

But what about Jesus? some will ask. Didn’t God desert him at his most vulnerable and when he needed his Father most? Jesus asked, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” (NIV throughout). These were the first words of Psalm 22, which the Jews would have known – and they also would have known the rest. Verse 24 says: “For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.”

God did not abandon Jesus on the cross. He was right there with him as he took on all the sin of the world. He never abandons us, not even for short periods. He truly is God with us – all the time.

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