He will Never leave
A few days ago, my husband handed me a little something, and asked me if I’d lost it. It was a small laminated picture - a gift given our whole church (the Tea Tree Gully Baptist church), about 10 or more years ago. I pounced on it. I've often gazed at this remarkable picture trying to understand what it depicted. It was a picture of the Three Strangers who visited Abraham. Andrei Rublev – an artist of the 15th century painted it.
The picture’s said to be filled with symbolism and is an Icon of the Holy Trinity, because as we discover in Genesis 18, it was God Himself who visited Abraham that day. There is rich meaning in the painting – from the manner in which the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are seated; to the special colours they wear, to other images included in the scene. What’s especially heartwarming is that there is an open space in the front of the tableaux so we too can approach the divine table. To join the Threesome in their banquet. So we can fellowship with God Himself. Isn’t that awesome?
I was elated when I saw my little picture again, because, you see, I’d given it up for lost. Shan had been hunting for an item he’d dropped under the front passenger car seat when he’d stumbled upon my picture. Hooray! As I took it from him, I realised that the last time I’d seen it was a whole year ago. We’d enjoyed a holiday at my brother and sister in law’s home in Whyalla. When we’d returned home, my precious little picture wasn’t to be found – not in my prayer diary, nor in any of the books I’d taken to Whyalla. My brother wrote to say that unfortunately a thorough search twice over hadn’t uncovered it.
No wonder he didn’t find it. It had been under our car seat the whole time. I was delighted to be reunited with my special picture, like a child who at last found her favourite lost toy. What made it all the more interesting was that I’ve lost it scores of times before. Each time, I gave up all hope of finding it. But guess what! It always turned up. Every single time.
It was a poignant reminder that it’s the same with God. His reality and presence remain with me. Always. He is close at hand, even when I don’t know it. It is a great comfort as I think about it. There was a time when I was afraid I might lose God and His loving presence in my life. A friend reminded me gently that we simply can’t lose God in that way. She was right of course. God desires to fellowship with me. I cannot lose God the way I’d lose a possession. Like I’d lose a little earring that falls out of my grasp and rolls out of sight; a pair of glasses I misplace; a prized possession that thieves might steal, or even a trusted friend who forsakes me. Just like my little picture, God will always turn up – because …. He never leaves. He is always there.
Psalm 139 shares this truth beautifully:
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
if I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:7-9
I can never lose God. God is behind me and before me. On my right and on my left. His presence is all around me. His Holy Spirit lives inside me. He desires my company and my friendship. Sadly, I may sometimes walk away from Him; but it's never the other way around. I’m so glad I found my precious little bookmark. But I’m even more grateful for the truth it taught me.
Do you sometimes feel alone? Forsaken by friends? Longing for intimacy? Sadly, life often brings heartbreak. Relationships crumble. Marriages break down. Friends forsake us. But there is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother. And He is only a heartbeat away. His Friendship lasts for eternity. His love shines brightly – a lighthouse in a dark world where storms rage and the seas roar; where illness is rampant and unfaithfulness abounds. Where there is darkness and death but thankfully that’s not all there is. There is also a precious hope that shines brightly; a beacon that brings us safely to our desired haven.
The Light of the World. Jesus.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; "He will never leave you nor forsake you."
"As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you." Joshua 1:5
"The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them." Isaiah 41:17
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. Hebrews 13:5