The feeling of being utterly alone is a very real issue so many of us have had to wrestle through. Perhaps now more than ever! The human condition leaves us vulnerable to feelings that tell us no one understands us, nobody has been through what we’re going through, or at the very least, there isn’t anyone who cares. As life persists, betrayal, abuse, abandonment, trauma, and so many other things leave us riddled with insecurity and fear marooning us in a state of isolation and loneliness.
But as we celebrate Easter this week in a world that feels upside down and pretty stinking lonely, I am reminded once again that these burdens have been lifted. Jesus made a promise to His followers before He left this world. He said, “I am with you always,” and thanks to the work He did on the cross, these words are not small or empty. They carry great weight and understanding, for our security in Jesus came at an unimaginable cost.
And now, thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus I can rest in the assurance that I’m never alone, as can every believer saved by the grace of God through the work of Jesus Christ.
I am regularly overwhelmed by those heart-wrenching words uttered by Jesus as He hung on the cross, moments from death.
Mark 15:34 – Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?“
As the sins of the world were placed upon Him, Jesus paid the ultimate price, and suffered the consequences of my sin and yours – separation from God. It was a reality He had never known. In fact, throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus had time and time again found His identity in the unity He shared with His Father. They were one!
What we remember and celebrate every year on Good Friday is so much more than Jesus’s willingness to give His life for us. There are many throughout history who have given their life to save another, and while that is no small sacrifice, it does not even begin to cover what Jesus actually gave up for us!
I don’t want to minimize the physical pain Jesus endured at the crucifixion. It was a terrible thing He went through! But I don’t believe that alone would have been enough to fill Him with dread to the point that He sweat blood in the garden as He anticipated in prayer the agony He was about to endure. I don’t believe the prospect of that torture alone would have caused Him to ask the Father to “take this cup from me,” or find another way.
Rather, I believe it was in knowing He must endure separation from Father and Spirit that He found Himself terrified. Oh what a heavy weight my sin carried! The earth shook with the gravity of that moment as the Father looked away, and the Godhead was severed. In that moment my Savior endured an isolation so deep, so complete that He felt as if He had been forsaken by His God and Father.
Our Security in Jesus
But what we celebrate every year on Easter is so much more than the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross! If the story had ended there, with Jesus in the grave, it would have been enough. He still would have paid the price for our sins, and salvation would still have been made available to us. But praise God, the story didn’t end there!
Sin was not the only thing defeated that day! The story didn’t end in death for Jesus, because the grave could not hold Him. He arose in victory, and death was defeated as well!
Jesus was willing to die, utterly alone, with the sins of the world on His shoulders, but death could not keep Him! Now, you and I never have to be alone again, for our Savior is alive! We will never be forsaken because our Lord and Savior was willing to bear that burden for us, and in the process conquered sin and death forever!
When Jesus left the grave behind, He sealed a promise. He became the first of many to experience resurrection, and in so doing He made a way into eternity for all of us! What a joy it is to find our security in Jesus!
Jesus’s Promise – “I Am With You Always”
After His resurrection, and just before returning to His Father in Heaven, Jesus made one final promise to His followers. “I am with you always.”
Matthew 28:18-20 – Jesus came and told the disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
In the time between the resurrection and this promise, Jesus had appeared to His disciples and followers on many occasions. He had proven to them that He was alive, taught them to understand what had happened, and prepared them for the ministry that was to come. But this promise was the most important thing, because it was this promise that made it all possible! The promise was the Holy Spirit!
Luke 24:44-48 – Then He said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And He said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of His Name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things.“
And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”
Jesus had promised His very own Spirit to come and indwell the heart of every believer. It could never be taken away, so every person who would repent could rest in the security of knowing they never had to be alone again. Each of us has the very presence of God, not just with us, but in us! He’s not just there, He is a part of us! United with us.
John 14:18-21 – No, I will not abandon you as orphans – I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live.
When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.“
So now, because Jesus was willing to suffer separation from God, the unity that He had with God before the crucifixion has been made available to us! We have the opportunity to become one with God! What an unimaginably priceless gift!
I Have Nothing to Fear Because With God, I’m Never Alone.
Unfortunately, we don’t always live in that reality do we? Even though I have the Holy Spirit of God living within me, there are still plenty of times when I disregard His presence and wallow in self-pity, feeling isolated and lonely. What a shame.
How can we as believers make the truth about our identity in Christ permeate our being so that we live there, in the reality of His enduring presence and power in our lives? How can I face the world day in and day out with the confidence of knowing I’m never alone?
I believe the answer has very little to do with us, and a whole lot to do with God. Our part is surrender. We must daily release our desires, our rights, our thoughts and ideas, our everything, and place them at the feet of Jesus. We must let go of our feelings, and allow the Holy Spirit to bring us into truth and do His mighty work in us.
Matthew 11:28-30 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.
Philippians 1:6 – And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Fear creeps in. People hurt us, and our identity is threatened. We start to forget whose we are, and believe the lies whispered into our soul from the enemy. But the very same God who said, “I am with you always,” has promised to finish the work He started in us! Because of our security in Jesus, we can know that He will not abandon us to our wayward and deceptive hearts.
Hebrews 13:5-6 – …For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”
He’s never going to leave us, never going to fail us friends! If we belong to Him, we can say with confidence, “I am NEVER alone, God is my helper. He has said, ‘I am with you always,’ so what do I have to fear? When God is for me, who can stand against me? So I WILL trust Him, and tell fear and insecurity that they are liars, and they can take a hike. Because I am believing God, and my security is in Jesus who suffered in my place and made a way for me to be united with Him forever. PRAISE THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS!”
Jesus’s Words, “I Am With You Always” Means We Cannot Be Separated From His Love.
Here is my absolute favorite thing about our security in Jesus: it cannot be taken away! There isn’t anything we can do, or not do, there isn’t any power or presence, there isn’t any trial or heartache that can separate us from the love God has lavished upon those of us who belong to Him!
It doesn’t always feel that way, does it? But it’s still true, and we must speak that truth into our feelings. We must remind our fears of the promise, “I am with you always.” We must choose to believe God. So when the lies creep in, and loneliness threatens to steal our joy, let’s use these words – the very words of God Himself to realign our hearts with truth:
Romans 8:31-39 – What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? No one – for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn us? No one – for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today or our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It is certain, my friends! Our security is in Jesus! We are never alone. Believe it.