The gut punch of left alone

Alone. As a mom of four kids, therapist, and pastor’s wife, I love me some alone time. Give me a cup of coffee and a good book, a glass of wine and a fire in my backyard, or a bathtub and a cup of earl grey, and it’s like a tiny window of heaven. Alone time is a precious resource around here. You don’t take it for granted. But I also know what it means to feel truly alone, as in left alone…and there’s a big difference.

Have you had that moment? That moment when it feels like everyone has walked away. Maybe a loss leaves you wondering who will fill the gap, who else will share your secrets. Maybe you have been left by a loved one, a father, a mother, a husband, a brother – someone who walked out the door leaving you behind with the tears, the shock, and the anger. Or maybe you have been left standing to face the bully of life on your own, and when you looked around, not a single person stayed to fight alongside you.

Whether in little or in the big moments of life, we have all experienced the stomach drop of left alone.

My therapist is fond of saying, “There are two sides to every coin.” Today, let’s return to Isaiah 62:12, our passage from yesterday, and remind ourselves of the titles bestowed on us by Christ, once again. There is so much in this snippet of Scripture:

And they shall be called The Holy People,
    The Redeemed of the Lord;
and you shall be called Sought Out,
    A City Not Forsaken.

One side of the coin is being sought out, being chosen and loved, someone running after us. The other side of the coin here is that to know what Not Forsaken looks like, we need to experience left alone.

Words associated with the word forsaken in the dictionary include – abandoned, deserted, to disown, renounce, refuse, or discard.

This is so often the world’s message to us – you aren’t worth the time or energy, you aren’t important enough, you are insignificant. This is never, never, God’s message to us.

Flip the coin…

Sought out means not forsaken, not abandoned, not disowned, not renounced, not refused, and never, never discarded.

Look up the following verses and hear God’s message of Not Forsaken –

Deuteronomy 31:8

1 Chronicles 28:20

2 Corinthians 4:9-10 …persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

Hebrews 13:5-6

We may undergo trial. There may be good days and bad days and rotten days and complacent days and joy-filled days and everything in between, but there will never be forsaken days.

You, my friend, are Not Forsaken. It is your name, placed on you by God Himself. Notice the capital letters in the Isaiah text. Sought Out, Not Forsaken. He will be with you each day, in the wonderful and the hard. Cling to that. Let it seep into your soul.

Not Forsaken.

Father, we thank you that You sought us out and that You bring us to You, that You treasure us enough to make promises and follow through, especially when the world goes it’s own way. Charge us to be faithful, Lord. Help us to live in Your promises and find the value and worth of each day in You and You alone. Thank you for Jesus, who makes us new and holy and free. Forgive us when we forsake You, and lead us ever back to Your mercy and grace. We stand on Not Forsaken in You, today. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen. 

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Exploration:

Martin Luther and other commentators apply this verse also to the Church on earth. The Church being God’s people here and now, and across time. How has God sought out His people in history? What historical moments come to mind when you consider that the Church is not forsaken? What promise of the future is there for the Church in Not Forsaken and Sought Out?

The first verse of the hymn The Church’s One Foundation speaks directly to this topic of Sought Out. Sing this message to yourself or with your family today and be reminded of His Faithfulness.

The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
she is his new creation by water and the Word.
From heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died. (public domain)

http://www.hymnary.org/hymn/LSB2006/644

 

5 thoughts on “The gut punch of left alone”

  1. Love that hymn, and I thank Lost and Found for helping me memorize all the verses. (But I have to admit shock when our pianist starts playing it about 90 times slower than L&F sing it. Even though her tempo is perfectly hymn-fine, I just expect it to be so much faster!)

  2. God sought out His people by giving the promise of a Savior to Adam & Eve, by calling Abraham to be the father of His people, by sending Moses to rescue His people from Egypt, by sending judges to rescue His people from their enemies, by sending prophets to call them back to God, by sending Jesus to be our Savior, by sending Martin
    Luther to call the church back to the Gospel, and much more.

    The promise in Not Forsaken and Sought Out is the church will always exist. God will care for us forever!

  3. The promise of Not Forsaken is found in a verse of the hymn that is in the TLH but left out of the LSB- The church shall never perish,
    Her dear Lord to defend;
    To guide, defend, and cherish,
    Is with her to the end;
    Though there be those that hate her,
    False sons within her pale;
    Against both foe and traitor,
    She ever shall prevail!

  4. My husband thinks and communicates differently than I do (yay for different gifts!). This fact guarantees that I will always be challenged to pay attention to what I say and what he says, and it means I’m always growing and learning. But when we have a disagreement…. if it’s a big one, I have been known to retreat to a hidden and alone place and tell myself I am forsaken, not sought out, not loved. I think the devil is pretty pleased with me in these moments. I’m so grateful for the focus of this Bible study because now, when times get tough, I am more likely to push the devil to the side and remember that I am Sought Out, honored and loved!

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