John 15:18 “And I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.”
Something that is central to the human experience is the feeling of being alone. Many experience this reality to varying degrees with some of the feelings being brought about by the physical reality of being alone or being abandoned by family and friends. Others, though they are surrounded by people still struggle with feeling alone. And many others, in Christ, even serving in the Church, also struggle with feeling separated from the God who paid for and purchased their souls from hell. From heavens standpoint, this ought not be, though it so often is.
It’s been my personal experience in viewing the lives of others within the body of Christ that many of us live with an orphaned heart. It’s a heart that feels deeply alone, even though they are in relationship with their heavenly Father. Now I am not talking about the times when God breaks in and makes His love and presence known to our hearts and lives. I’m talking about the mundane activity of our lives (which is the majority). It’s in the overall, or the mundane, day-to-day-ness that many of us feel this way. It seems in my experience there are more times that I don’t “feel” Him than I do actually feel Him. This has at times in my relationship with Jesus created great challenges for me because I am a “feeling” kind of guy. Early on when I couldn’t feel Him, I thought He was made at me, exposing sin or disciplining me. I have learned that God does withdraw His presence for many reasons, including sin and divine discipline, but as I have matured I see it’s more about the mystery of who He is as He comes and goes on our hearts and lives.
And you can only imagine what the disciples were feeling when Jesus began to speak to them about His departure. I mean, John 16 tells us that they become filled with sorrow; so much so, Jesus was unable to continue telling them about both the present and future because of their personal sorrow in light of His coming absence. You and I take these words for granted because we weren’t present with Jesus when He walked the earth. But for these guys, Jesus was their everything, their all in all and suddenly His words of departure which He had been sharing for quite some time was now all settling in. The reality of His disappearance was at hand. And in His coming absence they were feeling alone. But Jesus words to them in this place are, “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.”
His coming to them was twofold. Firstly, He will send the Holy Spirit, and through the Holy Spirit they will enjoy unbroken fellowship with the Godhead. Though they couldn’t physically touch Him anymore, He would actually be closer because He’s going to take up residence inside them. And secondly, He will come for them at the end of this age at the sound of the seventh trumpet. It’s the first part that’s important to us in this reading. What this passage gives us confidence in is that this feeling we often feel, of being alone, doesn’t have to be our lot in Christ. In fact, Romans 8 says that the Spirit who now lives in us, is actually called the Spirit of adoption, Who is perpetually calling out from within us “Abba.” Though this feeling of being alone comes and goes, what must remain steadfast within us, is the Spirit of adoption that joins us to the Godhead as fully belonging to Him.
When we lose sight of God’s nearness to us we can end up with bitterness towards Him and a heart full of accusation, which opens us up to great injury at the heart level. We can start accusing Him of not caring, not watching, not being involved and being distant. We must remind ourselves that we aren’t orphans, we aren’t Fatherless and the great God who sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, Who is three times HOLY is not only watching our lives closely (just like a Father watches His children) but is also deeply committed to us.
Take heart today, you are not alone.
Holy Spirit, feelings of loneliness often come and go, but the Word of God says that I have not been left as an orphan, but that You are with me always, even until the end of this age. Holy Spirit, arise mighty within me, break off the spirit of rejection and fill me with the Spirit of Adoption, even now. I ask that You would establish me, root me and ground in the love of God, so that when feelings of loneliness come, they would be driven out by the Truth of Your nearness to me. You love me, are for me and are working all things in me, through me and around for Your glory and others good.