“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” John 16:32
I’m am not alone. I am not alone. You will go before me, you will never leave me. That worship song by Kari Jobe runs thru my head every single time I need to pee. I just want to be alone. For 30 seconds. A minute would be heavenly. Please!
If you’ve ever been a parent, I’m sure you understand. I’m convinced there is a silent alarm set across the door of my bathroom. It could have been silent in the house for thirty minutes or more. Everyone working on projects, playing or reading but the moment I walk in the bathroom...Mom, where are you? I need you. Mom, can you look at this? Mom, he touched me. Mom, who was the first person to split an atom? I’m an extrovert by nature, I love being around people. Before kids on a personality scale of 1 being introverted and 10 being extroverted, I ranked a 10. The last time I took this test I ranked a 5. I contribute the decline completely to ten years of bathroom intrusions.
As I read through the Bible, I see a constant push and pull between ‘please don’t leave me’ and ‘I need some space.’ Even Jesus lived and spoke of this tension. When he was tired and needed to be refreshed, he would often go away by himself to a hilltop or quiet place to pray. He even invited those in His presence to do the same. (he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31) However, he also showed compassion and sacrificial love when he met large crowdswho had followed him after he tried to find some privacy. (Matt 14:13-14) Jesus knows what it is like to be constantly needed. Clothes tugged on and requests asked of him day and night. Even healing power taken from him by surprise. I love our real-life Bible sharing how the disciples went ahead for food while Jesus sat down at a well alone. He was plumb worn out and knows how it feels to need a break.
Through the everyday ups and downs, our human bucket gets filled and poured out. Sometimes we need more filling and sometimes we overflow. Sometimes we want out of a relationship, sometimes we are hurt that those relationships are gone. In John 16, Jesus speaks to the disciples the truth that they will all leave him. The very ones who have been all up in his business for over 1,000 days are going to run away and leave him alone. These are the guys he wants by his side in the garden in his final hours. He doesn’t want to be alone, but he finishes with, “yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” If you have ever been or are currently in a situation where you feel completely alone and don’t like it, Jesus understands that too.
I’m still learning to embrace the tension of being needed and needing to recharge. I believe our flesh battles it all our life. First wanting a break while caring for those around you and then missing that season when they are no longer there. In the moments where I look up and my heart skips a beat because no one is around, my spirit overflows with joy that I am never really alone. The Lord goes before me and he will never leave me.
Are you needing to get away and find rest today or do you need to ask others to come alongside you? What truth of God’s never-leaving presence do you need to embrace?
Father, thank you for understanding my real-life struggles. Sometimes I need rest and a chance to recharge and that’s okay. Help me embrace interruptions of these times with compassion and love. Other times, I need support around me but don’t find what I need and feel alone. Fill my mind and heart with truth that even then, I am not really alone. You are always with me.
The Shadow of My Porch Swing
You will usually find me on my porch swing or trying to get there at least. Warm drink in hand and the best view in the world...4 boys digging a hole. Seriously tho, I enjoy the chance to sit and rest but mostly ponder the life that happens in between each of those sways of that swing. As the sun rises and sets, the shadow of that swing moves across my porch reminding me that Jesus is always shining on each moment. May you find hope and rest in Jesus here.
Partnering with YouVersion and The Bible App, The Shadow of My Porch Swing - 7 day devotional is now available in the Plans section of the Bible app. Click link above or search by title or 'God's Presence.'