There are so many rich verses and passage in today’s reading, ones that most believers know as rote, but there was one that stood out to me, as if it was highlighted in my Bible.
“I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back.” John 14:18 (MSG)
Other versions use the words I will not leave you comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless, fatherless, I will not leave you all alone, I will not leave you without help, I will not abandon you…
Having never been an orphan in the true sense of the word, one who is without parents, my main understanding of this word comes from my work among the orphaned in India. My husband and I live and work in an orphanage. Every child has lost one or both parents to death. Their extended families do not have the resources or the capacity to care for these children and so they are brought to us to house, feed, nurture, and raise in the ways of the Lord. They have been abandoned more than once in their short, little lives.
Even though I am not an orphan physically, in many areas of my life at times, I have felt all alone, helpless, unsupported, abandoned, and rejected. I think everyone on earth has probably felt this way at some point in life. Another who felt that way at different times in his life was David.
In so many of his Psalms he writes, prays, and sings about those times when his enemies are upon him, hating him, wishing him dead; he expresses the frustration and desolation of being pursued and scorned. He prays to God for help, safety, protection, vindication; he puts his trust in the only God who loves him and will always be there for him – just like he will always be there for me…and everyone.
Father of orphans,
champion of widows,
is God in his holy house.
God makes homes for the homeless,
leads prisoners to freedom… Psalm 68:5-6 (MSG)
Blessed be the Lord—
day after day he carries us along.
He’s our Savior, our God, oh yes!
He’s God-for-us, he’s God-who-saves-us… Psalm 68:19-20 (MSG)
Because he rescues the poor at the first sign of need,
the destitute who have run out of luck.
He opens a place in his heart for the down-and-out,
he restores the wretched of the earth.
He frees them from tyranny and torture—
when they bleed, he bleeds;
when they die, he dies. Psalm 72:12-14 (MSG)
You’re well-known as good and forgiving,
bighearted to all who ask for help.
Pay attention, God, to my prayer;
bend down and listen to my cry for help.
Every time I’m in trouble I call on you,
confident that you’ll answer. Psalm 86:5-7 (MSG)
But you, O God, are both tender and kind,
not easily angered, immense in love,
and you never, never quit.
So look me in the eye and show kindness,
give your servant the strength to go on,
save your dear, dear child!
Make a show of how much you love me
so the bullies who hate me will stand there slack-jawed,
As you, God, gently and powerfully
put me back on my feet. Psalm 86:15-17 (MSG)
In John, Jesus also reminds that when He leaves for a time, the Father will send another person of Himself – Holy Spirit – to comfort help and guide; a person who will abide with me forever (John 14:16). And, multiple times throughout both the Old and the New Testaments, God promises He will “never leave me nor forsake me” (Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5, 1 Chronicles 28:20, Hebrews 13:5).
All persons in the Trinity of God have promised me that they will never disappear, never forsake, never abandon, never leave me without comfort or help. Because God promised this, and because I know that it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18), I can be certain that I will never be an orphan in the spirit.
Yesappa, thank you for Your promise to never leave me as an orphan and to be with me forever. You are continually coming toward me, not matter what I do, no matter what I am struggling with. You love me with an everlasting love which I will never be able to match, but still You will always be there for me, helping me, protecting me, providing for me, and comforting me. Thank you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India