DayBreaks for 3/22/18 – There Was No One There

Image result for alone

DayBreaks for 3/22/18: There Was No One There

From the DayBreaks archive, March 2008:

Have you ever felt absolutely and totally alone?  I am not the kind of person who minds being alone – in fact, I rather enjoy it…most of the time.  But when I worked in high tech, I traveled a lot and there were many times when I’d go to a strange city (or even a strange country) and loneliness would settle over my soul like a shroud.  There are many places where loneliness raises its head and comes to sit next to you.  Once it arrives, it tends to stay.

Some of the loneliest places I’ve been read like a list of places most folks would like to visit: Ireland, Sao Paulo, London, and in America, Mississippi and Alabama.  I don’t know why I felt so alone here in the US, but when you’re in a foreign country (even one like Ireland or England that speaks my native tongue) you can feel desperately alone.  Without my family, my wife, my dogs or friends, loneliness haunts like a spectre.  The more foreign, the greater the haunting.

The story of Gethsemane is one of the most painful stories for me to read in the entire collection of Scripture, and having been there, is even more painful to me.  It appears to be the time of Jesus’ greatest loneliness, with perhaps the exception of the cry of dereliction from the cross itself.  Anticipation of agony is oft times worse than the pain we anticipate.  I wonder if it was that way for Jesus.

In his novel, More Like Not Running Away, Paul Shepherd wrote: “I’d always known, in one place in my throat, how Jesus must have cried in the garden—crying not to die, because there was no fear of death, and not to leave his friends, because he walked alone, and not to suffer, because the blood and bruises and thorns were part of his perfection—but crying because he could not find his Father’s face, because when he would suffer all that he could bear, the pain of every person, living and dead, in that dark moment, there was really nobody there.”

Jesus truly had no peers to swap celestial stories with.  He had no one on the planet who understood what he faced just in a matter of hours.  There was no one else who truly understood the weight of the world’s sin as it came and settled on him like a hot blanket on that Palestinian night.  If ever anyone was in a foreign land, it was Jesus.  If ever anyone found “there was really no one there,” surely it was He.  “We esteemed him smitten by God…” 

For all who have ever felt loneliness, for all who have ever felt that there was “no one there,” take heart in knowing that Jesus has been to that desolate place before you.  And no matter how alone he felt at the moment he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, he soon proclaimed with great confidence: “Into Your hands I commit my spirit!”  In the midst of his massively heavy aloneness, He still had confidence in the Father He knew and loved, and was supremely confident that the Father saw and loved Him and would not ultimately let His Holy One be abandoned. 

Dare we hope for the same assurance?  Absolutely, for His Father is our Father and is unchanging.

PRAYER: Fill our loneliness with the confidence of Jesus that we may, in childlike trust and faith, abandon ourselves into Your hands.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 04/07/11 – God of the Abandonment, Part 1

DayBreaks for 04/07/11 – God of the Abandonment, Part 1

 

Abandoned...

 

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 4/05/2001:

Sadly, it isn’t uncommon at all to hear about children who have been abandoned.  Babies are left at the door of hospitals or adoption agencies.  Children are abandoned by a father or a mother.  A wife is abandoned by the husband that promised to stay until “death do us part”.  It happens far too often.  And it doesn’t only happen to unbelievers.  It doesn’t only happen to Christians.  It even happened to Christ: (Mark 15:34) “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”-which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

The idea of being abandoned by those we trusted is disturbing.  How are we to cope with it?  Let’s look at the crucifixion to learn how to deal with abandonment, for if anyone ever truly was abandoned, if anyone ever felt the utter depth of abandonment, it was Christ.  Can there be a cry of abandonment more haunting than that of Jesus on the cross?  Consider that Jesus and God had been together “in the beginning” (John 1:1-2).  There had never been a moment in time (or outside of time) where they had not been together.  Never had they failed each other.  Never had they been separated or apart – not even when Jesus came to earth as a human baby.

During his days on earth, Jesus understood abandonment.  The crowds turned from him after he’d fed them and challenged them with the statement that they would have to eat his flesh and drink his blood.  In a spirit of sadness, he was moved to ask his disciples if they, too, would leave and abandon him.  How did he deal with it?  Matthew and Mark tell us that after Jesus’ cry of abandonment, that he cried out one more time.  Luke tells us what those words were: Luke 23:46 – “Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Do you see what Jesus did when he felt abandoned by God?  He, in turn, abandoned himself to God.  “Into your hands, I commit my spirit…”.  He didn’t give up on God.  He didn’t search for some other solution or a substitute, but he trusted Him who He had always trusted before.

What should we do when we feel abandoned?  The same thing that Jesus did.  It doesn’t matter who or what has abandoned you – your response should be the same.  Don’t become angry and bitter.  Abandon yourself totally to God!

PRAYER: Lord, how comforting it is to know that you understand how it feels to be alone and abandoned.  Remind us often that you will never leave us or abandon us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks 03/11/11 – The Question From the Cross

DayBreaks for 03/11/11 – The Question From the Cross

Mark 15:34 – “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”-which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

 

"Why have you forsaken me?"

If there is a more heart-rending passage in Scripture, I don’t know what it is.  The very idea of the Son of God, His “beloved Son” being abandoned by the Father is shocking.  The idea of it is revolting.  In my entire life, I don’t believe that I ever felt abandoned by my earthly father – so it is inconceivable to me that God could have abandoned Christ.  Yet the emptiness that Jesus felt is palpable as he screams the question from the cross to the darkening sky.

 

Michael Card noted that this question from Jesus is the only expression from the cross that is recorded in all four of the gospels.  What does that say?  It says that I am not the only one who was moved by Christ’s agonized cry.  It made an impression on all who heard it.  In fact, Jesus’ words mixed two languages, which might be a sign of the extremity of his suffering.

Michael Card goes on to say: “My God, my God, why…?”  It may be the most painful question any human can ask.  Often, at its most visceral level, it is not a request for information so much as a howl of anguish.  As far as we know, it was the only time Jesus ever asked his Father, ‘Why?’

You and I know the answer: Jesus was forsaken at Golgotha because of our sin.  Now, because of the redemption Jesus purchased for us in darkness, we can live forever in God’s light.  Because of the separation he endured for us, we – who have so often turned our back on our Father – have the guarantee that He will never forsake us.”  – Michael Card, A Violent Grace

No doubt at some point in your life you have asked the same question that Jesus did: “Why, God?”  Jesus, knowing the mind of God, already knew the answer.  You and I don’t have the same luxury.  That’s where trust comes into play – that the same God that ultimately answered Jesus’ cry will someday answer my questions and yours.  Not because He is obligated to (although as the One who is responsible for us being here, He has taken on an obligation to us), but because He wants to.

You may be asking the same question now.  I can’t answer the “Why?” question that you are asking God.  Only He can answer the question.  But perhaps you can find some comfort in knowing that Jesus understands the “Why?” that is in your heart and on your lips.

PRAYER: Lord, all the “Why?” questions we face in life are greatly disturbing and we struggle to understand.  Thank you that Jesus wrestled with the same perceptions and sought answers from You.  Help us to seek the answers that trouble us at Your throne, and even if the answers aren’t granted to us, to trust in Your goodness!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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