“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.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
“Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.
After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake,
and he was alone on land.
He saw the disciples straining at the oars,
because the wind was against them.
Shortly before dawn he went out to them…”
Mark 6:45-48 (NIV)
“And surely I am with you always,
to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20 (NIV)
He was an unwanted child and knew it. It became terribly obvious one day when he was 5 years old and his parents traded him for an old car. Was it any wonder then that he grew into an anger teenager who got into trouble with the law? The people who were most obligated to love and care for him abandoned him at the time in life when he needed them the most! The Lord suffered with that young man because He felt the pain of abandonment just as the teenager did. The haunting cry of the Good Shepherd from the cross “My God, my God, Why have you forsaken Me?” haunts us and we will never know the full meaning of His grief.
One of the most wonderful promises the Lord ever made to us is that He will always be with us regardless of how many storms we face in life. So often we may feel rejected or abandoned by the Lord, yet He is faithful to the end.
This theme of the Lord’s faithfulness needs to be preached and reflected on often to keep our heads above water when adversity tries to swamp us. We are safe in the sovereign hands of our Lord regardless of how upsetting our situation is.
The disciples, as seen in Mark 6 obeyed the Saviour when He ’made them’ start sailing west across the Sea of Galilee. Their obedience to Jesus got them into life threatening trouble. Yet Jesus was watching them all the time as Mark tells us. After they had worked hard Jesus came. However, they had to endure a horrific time until the Lord finally intervened.
The precious promise given to Joshua and again to the disciples at Jesus’ ascension needs to be treasured by us in times of trouble. Thank God for being ever faithful.
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see:
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow—
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
-T. O. Chisholm