CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
God does not Forsake His Children
By Denise M. Kohlmeyer
Have you ever been forsaken? I have. Several times.
My childhood best friend of eleven years abandoned our friendship when she got a serious boyfriend in high school. In my single years, the man I had thought I was going to marry forsook me after having met someone else while serving in Africa as a short-term missionary. He actually sent his state-side best friend to break up with me. In my later adult years, my Dad forsook me by disinheriting me, leaving me nothing — absolutely nothing! — after his death.
Being forsaken hurts. Deeply hurts. How can it not? It speaks of rejection, of being left, abandoned. Sometimes without good reason or even an explanation.
Yes, being forsaken happens all too often, and in many different ways. A husband abandons his wife for another woman. A prodigal forsakes his Christian faith and family. A sickly newborn is left at the hospital by her single mother, which is the backstory of my oldest, Russian-born, adopted daughter. And, yes, even institutions, like the government, can forsake people.
Being forsaken leaves many of us with bewildered and bruised hearts, as well as shattered and insecure lives. But that is when God leans in and reassuringly whispers into our profoundly sore souls, "I will not fail you or forsake you."
God's Perpetual Promise
Many of us recognize this promise from Joshua 1:5, "'No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you."
Joshua was about to enter the Promised Land of Canaan after wandering in the desert for 40 years with the Israelites. As Moses' successor, he stood on the edge of the Jordan River and surveyed the land that had been promised to his people more than 800 years earlier.
But the land was filled with hostile tribes who wouldn't think twice about obliterating the Israelites. Rightly so, Joshua was a bit fearful. Perhaps he was wondering if God really was going to make this happen and if He was going to with them or abandon them right on the cusp of possessing the land.
That is when God leaned in and lovingly whispered, "I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you." What comfort, peace and reassurance that must have been to Joshua.
While that particular promise was for Joshua at that time, it is wonderfully restated in Hebrews 13:5-6, making it a perpetual promise for you and me!
'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'"
What God did for His cherished children in times past, He will certainly do for His equally-cherished children in times present.
And, like it did for Joshua, this promise should give us both comfort, peace and reassure as well, and cause us to trust our Heavenly Father even more whenever we are forsaken by someone.
God's Perpetual Presence
Another beloved Biblical character who felt abandoned by God at times was King David. Listen to his heart-rending cry in Psalm 22:1-2: "My God, my God! Why have You forsaken me? Why do You remain so distant? Why do You ignore my cries for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but You do not answer."
Yet throughout this psalm, even as he is venting his feelings, David knows that God is with him, that He is ever-present in his time of trouble. "Yet You brought me safely from my mother's womb and led me to trust You when I was a nursing infant. I was thrust upon You at my birth. You have been my God from the moment I was born" (Psalm 22:9-10).
God was, always has been, and always is with us. Once we move past our feelings, like David, we know in our minds and in our hearts that He is there. He is perpetually present in our lives and our circumstances.
Oswald Chambers wisely wrote in his devotional My Utmost for His Highest, "Having the reality of God's presence is not dependent on our being in a particular circumstance or place, but is only dependent on our determination to keep the Lord before us continually. Our problems arise when we refuse to place our trust in the reality of His presence."
We must clasp onto His promise and presence at all times, even when our feelings lead us falsely. because God has said that He will never leave us nor forsake us. And His word is always true and trustworthy!
God's Perpetual Power
Part of this beautiful promise includes His power to help us. "So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:6). God not only promises not to leave us but to help us through the times we are literally forsaken by others or just feel forsaken.
How exactly is that power expressed?
• He is with us. This was the assurance God gave to Joshua. "Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you" (Joshua 1:5, emphasis added). It is the same assurance we have as well. "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" (Isaiah 43:2).
• He comforts us. "As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you" (Isaiah 66:13).
"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).
• He strengthens and upholds us . "...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" (Isaiah 41:10).
• He rejoices and sings over us. "The LORD your God is in your midst, a Mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing (Zephaniah 3:17).
• He prays for us. "Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words" (Romans 8:26-27).
Indeed, we have this full confidence: God is our Helper and we need not fear what men can do to us. For if the Lord is for us, who then can be against us (Romans 8:31)?
Yes, we may be forsaken by others. But never, ever by God!
Image Credit: tpsdave; untitled; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Hardships | Personal-Relationships | Sin-Evil
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Published on 3-13-17