"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and BE WITH YOU FOREVER - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:16-18
This morning I was listening to one of my new favorite songs, "You Are Not Alone," by Lifehouse. It reminded me of something that happened a long time ago. When I was around 12 years old, I went deer hunting with my cousin Mike. I had been deer hunting with Mike before, but he was always with me in the stand. He had never left me alone. This time was different than all the other times. It was early in the morning, still very cold and very dark. I knew that this was the morning that I would be in the stand all by myself, and I was both excited and nervous. We walked through the woods with our small flashlights, and we finally made it to the stand. As I climbed up the ladder, I remember Mike telling me, "I want be far away. I'll be closely, and I'll come back to get you later in the morning." For the first few minutes, I was fine. I think the excitement of the moment was working on me. However, the exciting energy I was feeling wore off after about five minutes, and fear and panic began to grip me. I couldn't see or hear Mike anymore. I was worried that I was out there in the woods all alone. Out of my fear and panic of being alone, I began to whisper, "Mike. Mike. Mike, are you out there?" My whisper began to turn into my regular voice. "Mike, are you out there?" And after a few more minutes, my regular voice turned into an all-out shriek. "Mike!!! Where are you?!?! Are you out there?!?!" I was scared! I was scared because I thought I was all alone in the darkness, in the cold and creepy woods. Then I heard a voice. "Jeff, I'm over here." I turned to my right, and I saw his flashlight blinking on and off, on and off. "I haven't gone anywhere, and I'm not going anywhere. I've been right here with you the whole time, and I'll be right here with you the whole time." Even though I thought I was all alone, Mike had been there the whole time...even though I couldn't see him or hear him. I think back on that hunting trip, and I laugh about it now. I certainly didn't laugh then, but I laugh now.
How many times have you felt all alone in your life? How many times have you felt like no one was with you in the darkness, in the cold and creepy woods? The Bible never promises that life will be easy. The Bible never promises that everything will always go our way. As a matter of fact, the Bible promises that trials will come (James 1:2). There will be days when we have to walk through tough times that hurt and are dark and cause fear or anxiety. And even when we may feel that everyone has left us and no one is there to walk with us, we can be comforted by this truth from God's Word: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9)." God's Word promises us over and over again that He is with us. I love what Jesus told His disciples in John 14:16-18. In John 13 and 14, Jesus prepared His disciples for His death. He warned them that the time was coming. Of course, they could not believe it or didn't want to believe it. They didn't want Jesus to go. They didn't want to be left all alone. Jesus told them in John 14:16-18, "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and BE WITH YOU FOREVER - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." Jesus knew that upon His death and resurrection, God would send the Holy Spirit to not only walk with Christ followers but to also indwell them - BE WITH THEM FOREVER!
I don't know where you are in your walk with God right now. I don't know what kind of trial or trials you are walking through or how dark it seems for you right now. I don't know if you have been abandoned by family or friends, maybe feeling all alone right now. But if you are a Christ follower, you need to know and embrace this truth: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! The Holy Spirit of God lives inside you, and He has promised to be with you forever and wherever you may go. But maybe, just maybe, as you read this you realize that you've never personally trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. You've never repented of your sins and been baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit of God. If you are without Jesus, then you are without the Holy Spirit. And maybe, just maybe, you are alone. But you don't have to be! Cry out to God. Repent of your sins and ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart and save you. Paul tells us in Romans 10:9-13, "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, 'Anyone who believe in him will never be put to shame.' For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile - the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'" In Acts 2:38-39, Peter says, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off - for all whom the Lord God will call." Wherever you are right now, you are not too far from God's reach! You don't have to be alone in this world! Repent and call on Jesus right now! Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit! If you do...when you do, I can say with all confidence because I am personally experiencing it in my own life today: "YOU ARE NOT ALONE!" Believe it! Claim it! Live it!