‘I’m so thankful that God helped you be brave today.’ I tell her as we close the last book and slow down to rest.
‘And I was courageous too.’ She answers.
‘That’s true. You know you can be courageous because God is always with you. He promises us that…that He’ll never leave us.’ My big girl doesn’t like to say ‘goodbye’ and even the smallest of feats (like starting a new Sunday school class) are big ones when she has to walk through the doors alone.
‘He never leaves us? Not even when Jesus was on the cross?’
I’m confused and not sure what she means. But she remembers, remembers Jesus’ words on the cross, ‘My God, why have you forsaken me?’
We thank Him for His help today, for giving Carolyn the new word she loves to claim as her own: courage. And I head to my room to rest my own weary body.
I lay down and I remember her question: “He never leaves, not even when Jesus was on the cross?” Can she already feel it, the question that haunts me: How can He-so perfect-always stay with me-so not perfect? Certainly I don’t deserve His lingering, His watching, His care. I wouldn’t say it out loud, but don’t I know I doubt it. If not, why would I feel anxious, meet the morning with dread, feel the weight of the day is too much to bear? Aren’t these troubles a sign that I feel left all alone, sent to walk into the room by myself, abandoned to my own devices?
And the only way to answer these doubts is with my four year old’s question. True, God did leave-but just once. No, we don’t deserve His stay, His watching, His friendship and care. But, He gives it only because He took it from Jesus. For the moments of dread, of fear, of worry, He answers: Be courageous. Not because we can just grin and bear it, not thinking we’ll just make it through. But because He is with us. And He is with us because Christ went to the tomb without Him.
Wherever you head today and this week, He invites you to head there with Him. When your feet walk with worry, feel weary, or start to wander, ask Him, ‘Lord stay with me.’ Remember the cross and Christ’s words of abandonment. And know this: Christ was left alone for you…so that you would never feel left behind.
About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Matthew 27:46
7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
8 In a surge of anger
I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
I will have compassion on you,”
says the LORD your Redeemer. Isaiah 54:7-10
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” Galatians 3:13
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