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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Throw Away or Take Away?: Day 2

But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me… I have told you these words so that you may have peace…I have overcome the world.
John 16:32,33

Alone. For most of us (mothers of pre-schoolers are exempt from this illustration), it is a sad and lonely, even terrifying, word. In the context of this verse, it speaks of Jesus’ abandonment by the disciples, His coming suffering and horrible death.

For some, loneliness is a life-long companion that is deeply ensconced in their emotional make-up. For others, it is a reality that seeps slowly into advancing age as spouses, family and friends are claimed by debilitation and death.

And, for many of us, it as the undeniable truth of being a Christian in a culture that is increasingly hostile to God’s Word.

John 16:32 is a segue between the intimacy of the last meal Jesus and His disciples shared on this earth and the agony of the Garden of Gethsemene. It captures a magnificent and complete “story” in a few words. It begins with the joy and fullness of companionship and togetherness. After all, scattering can only occur if there is first a gathering. Jesus knew friendship, and, as a man, he delighted in it. Then, as a man, too, he experienced the searing pain of being misunderstood, misquoted and misjudged to the point where no one stood with him.

Then, when it absolutely couldn’t be more desolate from a human perspective (You will leave me all alone), comes another affirmation of an equally valid truth. “Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.”

When the door of human affirmation closes, the door of God’s presence doesn’t automatically swing wide. Sometimes it does, but sometimes it doesn’t. What Jesus is saying is that there is a bigger truth, a greater reality than the physical world through which humanity filters its existence.

So if you can’t feel it, touch it, see it, it is okay. It is there. He is there. He is good. And He isn’t going anywhere. He has overcome the world.

Nancy Shirah

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