Is there anything worse than being left behind?
- Seeing your flight taxi away from the gate JUST as you arrive, huffing and puffing, and sweating after deplaning from your last flight and going all out to make your connection, all for naught.
- Being the last one picked for teams in PE, as you hope no one notices the hurt you’re masking with a smile or too loud a laugh.
- Watching your mom pack dishes in newspaper as your dad packs his bags.
- Watching your mom die.
- Hearing that the parents you’ve been counting on bringing you to America for the last 2 years aren’t, in fact, coming after all.
I think being left behind, whether physically or emotionally, is one of the hardest, loneliest feelings in the world. In fact, a friend reminded me the other day that Satan often uses isolation and loneliness as a tool to fool us into thinking that we’re unlovable, not worth anyone’s time, and certainly not worthy of God’s attention and love. Of course he does. God says we’re made for Him and for community. God LIVES in perfect community with Jesus and Holy Spirit. God says love Him and love others by living with them and putting up with their (filter, Gretchen) junk. So yeah, it only makes sense that the deceiver would tell us that we’re worthless and should think ourselves lucky if anyone loves us – even a little bit. Have you ever fallen into believing that lie, just for a moment? I know I have. And darn it, even as a grown up, maturing follower of Jesus, I’m tempted to believe that tripe; and have to discipline myself to be in the Word, in prayer, and with a community of other believers, so that I don’t forget the truth.
I have to tell you that leaving our daughters-who-aren’t-really-but-sort-of-still-really-are-our-children in Ghana after our failed adoption was one of the most difficult things my dear husband and I shall ever do. Given my own past experiences with feeling abandoned after my parents’ rancorous split (no blame here; people do the best they can with what they have, and when they know better they do better, but still…my feelings are my feelings), and knowing that these children had already been through so many changes and let downs, and, yes…times of abject abuse and abandonment, my husband and I took very seriously our part in creating a safe space with and for them–a place where they would KNOW that they would never be abandoned again. Well, you know the rest of the story. No, we didn’t leave them in Ghana by our choice, but guess what? I can only imagine that they felt betrayed, lied to and left behind as if we did. And I felt about as worthless as one can feel. I was so tempted to listen to Satan’s tapes of “What Kind of Mother Leaves These Children Behind?” and “Couldn’t You Have Fought Harder?” “If You Really Loved Them…”
There’s a verse that is oft used in Christian adoption circles, and I love it, but I’m just now learning of its full meaning. Jesus says, “I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.” John 14:18 (NLT).
Jesus. Not Gretchen or her husband or anyone else. Jesus.
And how will He come to us and to those precious girls and to anyone else who believes in Him?
He sends his Holy Spirit to live in those who love Him. According to my study Bible, Holy Spirit is described as our Counselor (less as therapist and more as truth teller), our Comforter (think: encourager), and our Advocate (someone who is on our side and for us).
The absolute truth is that those who love Jesus are NEVER alone. We just aren’t. Not only do we have God living in Heaven, who sees us and loves us and is with us. We have Jesus, who came to earth, to reconcile us to God, and who was raised from the dead, showing God’s power over the ultimate separation – death! Furthermore, He is our High Priest, advocating on our behalf to God, the Father, and…Holy Spirit – one third of the actual triune Godhead – was sent by Jesus to make sure we knew that we were, in fact, never alone. Never picked last. Never abandoned.
If ever there was a reason to celebrate, it’s this: God loves his children so much that he made sure we would never be alone. When we watch our plane taxi away from the gate with disappointment in our hearts, he is with us. When we are picked last, not promoted, not hired, we know we’re never last in His eyes. When we say goodbye to relationships on earth, we know that though life here is hard and broken and ugly, it’s also beautiful and raw and exhilarating, and we are comforted by knowing we have relationship with Him forever. We may leave others, but those who love him will never be left behind by Him.
He loves us so. Oh, how he loves us.