“He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.‘” — Hebrews 13:5
Throughout the Bible there are 35 references to God not leaving or forsaking man. You may have heard it said: when God says something more than once, pay attention to it. We can rest assured that this is something that God really wants us to have written on our hearts. God wants us to know and understand that no matter what we are going through we will never be alone. That is God’s promise to us.
A large part of my life I did not know God. I knew of Him but my family very rarely went to church together. Yet, every Sunday, I was put into a taxi cab by my mother and shipped off to Sunday school. While at Sunday school I was told all of the stories about Jesus. They were nice stories but designed by parents or someone to keep me and the other children on our best behavior. Later on for catechism, I was required to recite the names of the 12 disciples in front of the whole congregation. Although I did my very best, I failed miserably. In spite of this rough start, Jesus kept tapping me on my shoulder giving me little nudges in the direction He wanted me to go.
I grew and matured as Jesus persistently kept reminding me that He was there. Over time I gradually began to listen to the tapping on my shoulder even though I didn’t notice a miracle was taking place. I began to believe. A stubborn, willful, broken child was being loved and molded by God.
Paul in his letter to the Philippians tells us “The God who started this great work in you would keep it up and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” (1:6 MSG)
God was working on me. No matter how hard I tried to ignore Him and pretend that I didn’t notice the nudges and the whispers in my ears, Jesus continued His pursuit of me throughout my life. Overtime I have come to call those whispers and nudges my “God moments”.
They have become important reminders for me of the many times that God has made me aware of His presence in my life. God will not let me forget that I am never alone. He is always there watching, caring, guiding and most importantly, loving me.
Throughout my life I have been blessed with many “God moments”. During those moments, I’ve either
heard God’s voice, felt His presence, or witnessed His creative work in the world. I’m always
awestruck when I witness the many beauties of His creation such as the sight of a summer rainbow or a starlit night. I’m also reminded that these events do not happen by chance. They are part of God’s plan!
I also believe that the God moments I have experienced personally are part of God’s plan for me. “I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
In my God moments I become aware that God is speaking to me, showing His love for me and reminding me that He is still alive and working on my behalf in His world. Reflecting back on those moments in my life, I now realize that when I’m feeling lost, sad, or confused – when I need God – He will show up in the form of a God Moment.
I want to give you a brief example of how God has shown up in my life. On Christmas day of 1981 instead of being awakened from my sleep by the sound of my children happily tearing open their gifts, I was awaken by the ringing of my telephone. It was my mother calling to tell me that my father had died of a sudden heart attack.
I was devastated by the news! I had just spoken to my father the evening before. My last words to him were “Daddy, I have to go. I’m making cookies with the kids. I love you Daddy. I will call you tomorrow.” At that time, I did not know there would be no more tomorrows. That phone conversation was to be the last time I would hear my Dad’s voice on earth. I didn’t know how I would get through that Christmas morning with four kids who were not old enough to understand what it meant to me that their grandfather had died. The children were filled with excitement and joy in the way that only children can experience Christmas.
Choking down my sadness, I was determined I would not let my somber mood infect my home, spreading like a virus damping the Christmas spirit for others. Giving in to my need to be alone, I decided to walk down the street to the park. The park was empty. I sat down on a swing. It was a typical winter morning in New Jersey, cold and windy. Still the sun was shining and the sky was clear. I swung back and forth on that swing. Within minutes I began to yell and cry out to God as the tears started to roll down my cheeks. In my grief, I suddenly felt like I no longer knew where home was.
I was like a child who was lost in the woods. Somehow in the stillness of that cold, Christmas morning I felt a warm breeze surround me. It felt like a gentle hug giving me the same comfort that a child needs from her parent after falling and scraping her knees.
After a while the crying stopped. I had just lost my earthly father and in that moment, what I needed as I sat on the swing in that cold empty park, was to know that I was loved and cared for. I felt held in that warm breeze and I knew that I was not alone. I believe that God had been there in that park offering me His love in the middle of my pain.
Somehow during what felt like the darkest day of my life, I understood that life would go on without my earthly father but I would never be without having my heavenly Father.
“‘I will never leave you…’— not for any reason; not my sin, selfishness, stubbornness, nor waywardness. Have I really let God say to me that He will never leave me? If I have not truly heard this assurance of God, then let me listen again.” Oswald Chambers.