But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.
John 16:32 NLT
Even though we might feel scattered, we are also smothered and covered with His love. Yes, I went there with a Waffle House analogy about God’s love for us. I’m telling you, “Be the hash browns. Know who is preparing you. Trust Him to add all the right ingredients to your order.”
Yes, the trials and distractions and responsibilities of this world can scatter us, can leave us at times feeling isolated from others. It can even deceive us into feeling that because we have gone our own way outside of God’s will that we are alone. But He is for us and not against us.
He knows our weaknesses and isn’t expecting perfection – He is a master craftsman molding us and changing us. And these changes, this growth as we are reconciled to be more and more like our teacher – they are not comfortable, but are like the pains of a mother giving birth, they are like fiery trials as we press in and run this c race to its completion.
Our weaknesses and our stumbles are not there as an excuse for us to justify remaining in our chains – but to remind us and humble us that this is not a victory won under our own power. We do not gain a confidence for accepting sin as a part of our lives, but we gain a confidence for identifying sin and disease in our lives that we need to see overcome by our Lord and Savior.
And even of those who might think themselves “saved”, how many are really seeking first what they think are the rewards of heaven and forgetting about seeking righteousness. How many that are seeking the rewards have no real interest in righteousness because it is a bright light revealing the darkness in their hearts, because it requires letting go of things in their lives that their hearts truly desire that aren’t glorifying God?
Yes, we all fall short of the glory of God. Even the highmindedthat fall into spiritual pride believing that they have done something worthy, thinking that they have earned their way, thinking that they deserve anything short of the eternal fires of torment. You see, even the fallen one wants the glory and honor and rewards of heaven – but doesn’t participate in the righteousness, He doesn’t willingly submit to the will of the Father, doesn’t love God or others. He only loves himself and what He thinks He might get from the Father through his deeply hidden trickery and deceit of himself and his followers.
Yes, we at times in our weakness and the distractions and temptations of this world will encounter traps and schemes that must be overcome. Do not become discouraged and accept your situation if you find yourself seemingly isolated and caught in a trap, friend.
Those same disciples who scattered when He was arrested, who denied Him, who even after having received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost later argued over what to eat and who to eat with, who were rebuked by one another for the sake of the gospel – they walked with Him in the flesh up to the cross, then walked with Him in Spirit as they lived and grew in the Word of God. Their heeding the call to follow Him didn’t make them perfect, it made them faithful even unto death as Good provided them with grace upon grace, growing them and using them to plant seeds of the Word of God, testimonies of His Love and Mercy, living water of hope for the hopeless.
If we strive for perfection, we will eventually be humbled because prose comes before a fall. But if we run, if we press forward, in grattitude for this free gift of grace, faithful that in our applying these scriptures to our daily lives, and trusting Him to deliver us from these tricks and traps of the enemy – we know His loving touch upon our lives that comes from our belief, from our love, from our dedication to Him who loved us first – to Him who does not leave us – to Him who is Faithful and True – to Him who is our portion and our prize.
I don’t say this because I claim that I am yet a finished work. No, look at the rust and imperfection that still remains that He is working on still today. It is not hard to find if you look closely. I do not find myself above reproach, nor do I make any such claims – because I keep digging deeper and tilling up this soil over and over again, in joyful labor for the Lord. If my life is dirty and visible, it is because I am trying to be transparent and shine His light upon my own imperfections so that they can be cast out and replaced by the seed of the Holy Spirit growing in me.
But I’m hoping that by now there might be signs of life, of growth, of His love shining forth in my life. If you can’t yet see it, but can only still see this imperfect man speaking about the perfect things of God – I’m sorry. I still get in the way, we do get scattered, but I hope that you might know that He is with you, and you are not alone.
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NLT
Have you been scattered, friend? Have you been turned away?
Is it time for you to return and to feel His embrace?
Have you been searching for your purpose, for your value in all the wrong places?
He has your answer. You can quit searching for your answer and instead seek first the kingdom of God and righteousness. You can find peace even between times of war.
Don’t get discouraged by the scattering, look forward to being drawn back in to His presence. He is with you always.
Joshua 1:9 ESV
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Isaiah 41:10 ESV
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Matthew 28:20 ESV
Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Hebrews 13:5 ESV
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Romans 8:38-39 ESV
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Corinthians 3:16 ESV
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?