Teary eyes looked up at me from the crowd. In the process of rounding up his three older brothers, my then 4 year old nephew thought I’d left the crowded museum without him. As I knelt down and held him close, I reminded him that I would never leave him. I put a lot of emphasis on NEVER wanting him to know it was true. His sobs slowly subsided as we walked outside, his hand tightly wrapped around mine.
Months later, those words echoed in my head. I would not have left that precious little boy. I can still see him sobbing; sobs that shook his whole body. Where did he ever get the idea I would leave him anyway?
The Voice of My Father
As I let those words mull in my head, I heard another voice, “And I would NEVER leave you.” I recognized the voice – my heavenly Father.
Quickly a flood of questions followed. Why am I so quick to loose my faith? When I think I’m alone, is it just that I haven’t looked far enough? In the midst of feeling lost, do I trust that my Father is waiting for me, looking for me? Why am I so quick to break down in tears, sure I’ve been left behind and all alone? When I return to my Father’s side, do I hold on tightly, once again feeling safe?
More words came to mind, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I pulled out my concordance and found the verse. I also found it is repeated several times – almost as a reminder that this is something important.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:8 And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.
Joshua 1:5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Those words I heard weren’t idle words. My Father had already made the promise and was reminding me of its truth. He is with me, regardless of how I might feel.
I hope my words forever echo in my head along with the picture of a little boy who had found the person he knew and could trust. And more importantly, I hope I always hear the voice of my heavenly Father who makes the same promise. “And I will NEVER leave you.”