"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
~Hebrews 13:5; Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:5~
Reflecting on this sweet promise, I thought about some of the Biblical examples of God remaining near to His people even amidst struggles and grim circumstances. I thought of how He was near to Daniels' friends in the furnace (Daniel 3) and to Daniel in the lions den (Daniel 6); to Mary and Martha as they grieved the death of Lazarus (John 11); to Noah as he built and lived in the ark (Genesis 6-9); to Stephen as he was being stoned to death (Acts 6-8); to David as he fought the giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17); to Mary the mother of Jesus, even as she watched her son be put to death, He was near her and gave her His disciple, John to care for her (John 19:25-27).
While these stories are comforting and reassuring, what's even more comforting is when I feel God near me or my loved ones during times of suffering and hardship, during times where we can experience the fulfillment of His promises firsthand. He has promised to not forsake us nor leave us no matter how dire the circumstances seem. Whether it be the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, through sicknesses and terminal illnesses, through verbal and physical persecutions, through bullying and abuse, through the weariness of long days, through disabilities and handicaps, through EVERYTHING.
As I thought of all these things last night, my mind suddenly began to question: How is this all possible? Why is God so gracious to us that He has made a promise to those who trust in Him that He will NEVER abandon them?
Then as quickly as the questions entered my mind, the answer filled its place.
"My God, my God why have you forsaken me?"
~Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46~
He can promise us this not because of anything we've done, but because of everything Christ did. He took our sin, our mistakes and our sufferings, upon Himself so that we could have a hope and a future with Him. To know how deep, how wide, how long, and how high the Fathers love for us is (Ephesians 3:18). We deserve to be abandoned and forsaken, yet Christ bore our transgressions and was forsaken from His Father for 3 days before being risen again into perfect Glory, and all for us.
He was forsaken so we wouldn't have to be. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you.
Whatever you are going through right now, wait on the Lord and pour out your hearts to Him. He cares for you and won't leave you in your pain. Instead He will edify you and bring you closer to Himself. The sufferings of this world won't last forever, He is coming again to raise us up with Him on the last day. So persevere and press into God, trusting in His promise that He is near and with you. He will strengthen you and uphold you with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).