Social Distancing Does Not Apply To Our Relationship With God


Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8)

Social Distancing Does Not Apply To Our Relationship With God

During these trying times of the COVID-19 virus, one of the most effective means has become a new buzz word called “social distancing.” To lessen the spread of coronavirus, health and government officials recommend avoiding large gatherings and maintaining a distance of 6 feet from other people. This reduces the chance of contact with those knowingly or unknowingly carrying the infection. While health experts are working frantically to find a cure for the virus and medical professionals are on the frontlines battling the increasing spread of the virus worldwide, individuals can help by keeping a distance from others as this is a highly contagious virus easily spread. This is sound wisdom and everyone should heed the warnings.

The COVID-19 virus has changed the world turning many things upside down from just a few weeks ago. Stores and businesses are closed, many people have lost jobs, frantic buyers are emptying out grocery shelves and communities are reeling from the loss of revenue from what was a normal way of life. It will be months before much of the economy and basic needs of the country are restored to a level of normality. Social distancing is an effective tool to combat the manner of the transmission of the disease. Historically this is a reason for many deaths such as the 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish flu) that killed millions. When the practice of social distancing is used, the spread of this modern-day pandemic will at least curb the impact of the disease upon others.

There is solid evidence to prove the need for social distancing among the population but during this time of keeping a distance from others, it should be a time to draw nearer to God. Times of crisis should be defined by a deeper sense of reliance upon God. Epidemics are not new to the history of man. The patriarch Job said that life is full of trouble. What Job learned in his trials is that dependence on God was absolute and whether answers come or not, the Lord God still rules in the affairs of men. James makes it clear the greatest need of a man is to draw near to the presence of the Almighty. Drawing near to God will allow God to draw near to His child. There can be no social distancing with God.

During the time of home arrest, it would be a golden opportunity to reconnect as a family. Learn to read the Bible together, talk about God and the COVID-19 virus and the changing impact on the world, teach children to trust in the power of the Lord, learn to pray as a family again, and show neighbors kindness and love as people of God. Times of trouble should not be troubling times for the child of God. One of the great characteristics of God’s people is the example of faith during hard times. What others need to see in the spirit of the Christian is how closely they are drawn to God during times of crisis. Let the light of Christ shine in the lives of those who live for a higher calling. Encourage everyone to practice social distancing and pray that everyone will draw closer to God. He is the answer. The Lord has promised He will never leave and He will never forsake His people. No virus in the world will ever change that. Lord come quickly.

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Faith Walking On The Water

Faith Walking On The Water

Now in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. (Matthew 14:25-32)

Faith Walking On The Water

Peter was no stranger to challenges. Working alongside his brother, Andrew, Simon was a fisherman like his father. The life of a Galilean fisherman was hard, arduous and at times, dangerous work. Trying to eke out a living on the sea would not make many men rich but it did provide an income to care for a family. The Sea of Galilee was the life bread of Israel as the largest fresh body of water. Less than twenty miles in length, it has served the people of the region for centuries. Jesus traveled on several occasions on and around the sea. Following the feeding of the multitudes numbered more than five thousand, Jesus sends His disciples to the other side of the sea. Sometime between three o’clock and six o’clock in the morning, the Lord approached the ship walking on the water. At first, the disciples were troubled by his appearing but Jesus assured them it was Him and there was nothing to fear. Peter impetuously begged the Lord to allow him to walk on the water and Jesus agreed.

The boat was in a storm characteristic of the sudden burst of winds that would quickly descend from the east bank of the sea. Peter showed great faith to step out of the boat amid the squall and begin walking toward Jesus. It would have been an incredible feeling to walk on the water. The other eleven disciples watched in disbelief at what Peter was doing. No man had ever seen another man walk on water and yet before the eyes of the eleven disciples in the boat, two men were walking towards one another on the water. Everything seemed fine until a change took place. The wind did not die down nor do the waves begin to calm. Jesus was still standing on the water and for the moment Peter was walking on the tops of the waves. It was not until Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and began to realize what was going on around him that fear crept into his heart. When he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was terrified and began to sink. He cried out to the Lord to save him. Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him. Peter’s faith had waned at the critical moment and doubt destroyed his focus.

The miracle of Jesus and Peter walking on the water testifies to the incredible power of God. Two men walking on the top of the water was done by the finger of God. As long as Peter kept his focus on Jesus, he had nothing to fear. The wind was strong billowing hard against the seasoned fisherman. Water lapped high around Peter as he stepped through the water. At first, there was nothing to fear because Peter was doing what Jesus was doing. The storm did not deter the faith of Peter. All was peace within Peter because while the storm raged around him, he trusted in the power of God. Strong faith is required to believe in the impossible and Peter was doing the impossible. When faith began to weaken and the heart of Peter began to assess the fury of the storm around him, he forgot who was walking on the water first. Jesus came walking on the water to show that nothing on earth should deter the faith of the godly. If the Son of God can walk on water, so can His disciples. It requires faith in the time of storm.

Life is like the Sea of Galilee. It is not very long and often not very deep in its impact on the soul of a person. When storms suddenly appear and life is being tossed about, the last thing that comes to mind is asking Jesus if it is possible to walk on water. Peter could have remained in the boat and Jesus would have joined them. Eleven men did not have the faith to step out of the boat. One man made the bold decision to do the impossible. When Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he walked on water. Only when he lost sight of Jesus did the brave disciple begin to sink. It would take the hand of Jesus to restore Peter as they walked together to the boat. Security is found in walking on the water with the hand of Jesus.

COVID-19 is quite a tempest on the sea of life as it has disrupted life on so many levels it is difficult to assess the full impact. Needless to say, there are fear, concern, anxiety, and doubts. Sailing the waters of life can be on crystal clear days of bright sunshine or dark stormy nights filled with raging seas and violent winds. Jesus walks on both kinds of water. It was not a miracle that Jesus walked on stormy seas. He could have done that when the sea was calm. Jesus walking on the water was showing that walking through life is done by walking and trusting in the power of God regardless of the storm. Peter walked on the water when he did not fear the storm. Life brings heartache, suffering, and misery. The pandemic of 2020 should be a time to draw a clear focus back to God and remind men that perfect vision is found in Jesus.

As the year 2020 began, many were looking forward to the year as a time of focus and vision towards a greater future. When the impact of the virus will end is hard to say. This is a time to be reminded of how Peter lost his focus and began to sink. There are serious concerns for the virus and every effort must be made to be proactive in guarding against the insidious assault upon our world. During this storm, the saints of God who trust in Him, look to Him for faith, plead to the Father for relief and enjoy a peace that passes understanding will be seen walking on the water. Jesus walked on water so His disciples could walk on water. Have the courage to step out of the boat when others insist they must remain afraid in the boat and walk to Jesus. He will walk with you and you will have no fear. Keep your eyes upon Jesus.

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I Put My Trust

trust bnb

In You, O Lord, I put my trust; let me never be ashamed; deliver me in Your righteousness. (Psalm 31:1)

I Put My Trust

Before 1448, the Bible had no division of verses. For nearly twelve-hundred years, the Bible was one complete unit with the only divisions by books. The Bible was first divided into chapters by Stephen Langton around the year 1228. Two hundred years later, a man by the name of R. Nathan divided the Old Testament into verses in 1448 and Robert Stephanus divided the New Testament into verses one hundred years later around 1551. The entire Bible divided into chapters and verses first appeared in the Geneva Bible of 1560. One of the remarkable thumbprints of God in the revelation of God’s word in the printed form is found in the verse divisions of the complete Bible. Psalm 118:8 is the middle verse of the Bible which says, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” The need for trust is the center of the word of God and is central to understanding the character, purpose, and will of the Lord.

Trust is the faith and conviction of a thing which does not require full understanding or knowledge. Boarding an aircraft requires an immense amount of trust that all things will be per the designs, functions, and purpose of every part of the aircraft including the persons engaging the mechanisms of the machine. Knowing the scientific analysis of lift, weight, thrust, and drag is not required to fly as a passenger. Understanding the torque of an engine with incoming air into a tube where the air is compressed, mixed with fuel, burned, and exhausted at high speed to generate thrust is not necessary to fly from one city to the next. Trust is the corporate logo of inviting a group of people to enter a silver bullet to fly at thousands of feet for long distances and landing safely. The object of trust is the person desires to go from point A to point B and has measured confidence in all the factors involved in getting them safely to their destination.

Understanding how planes fly will not compare to the kind of trust required of man in his relationship with God. Few, if any, would question the airplane pilot, mechanic or engineer who designed the machine when they travel and if an event happens (like turbulence), while there may be justified fear and concern, there remains a level of trust the pilots will make the right decisions to help everyone come through the storm safely. When life makes a right turn and everything seems upside down, why do men not trust in the One who made the world, rules the world and declares His glory in the world? Life has a way of going haywire and there are dark clouds that gather on the horizon. Fear and dread enter the hearts of the unprepared. Doubts begin to fill the mind. Panic begins to seize the spirit. The world is changed.

David understood the uncertainty of life and how easily things can change quickly. His psalm to the Chief Musician of Psalm 31 is a full testimony to the word trust. The book of Psalms contains the most references to trust than any other book of the Bible. With no more than five hundred words, David declares the need for men to put their trust in God and their rock and fortress. God is a rock of refuge and a fortress of defense. There can be no value to human wisdom (like idols) but rather trusting in the Lord alone. Peace comes when men trust God as the Lord will place their feet in a wide pace securely giving them security in a time of need. David declares his fears as his eye wastes away with grief and his years were filled with sighing. His strength failed because of his sin and his bones wasted away. The son of Jesse knew that the flesh was frail but he trusted in the Lord and proclaimed the Lord was his God. The goodness of the Lord is great and is given to all those who will fear him and trust Him. The Lord preserves the faithful.

Fear can fill the heart in uncertain times. The impact of the COVID-19 virus upon the world is without precedence in modern time. Children of God must remember that while life has changed and become uncertain, God has not changed and He is still the great God He has always been. The key to the life of the faithful is to trust in the Lord with all the heart, soul and mind and never doubting that God remains supreme. Is there a message of Psalm 118:8 being the center verse of the Bible? Trust is the need of the hour. It is uncertain how this virus will change the world. Sadly, it has taken many lives and the families impacted will never be the same. Economies around the world are strained at the impact of what this virus has done. Let us liken this journey to an airline flight. Trust knows that whether we can understand everything about the why, when, how long or long-lasting effects, God will take us to our place of safety because He rules in the affairs of the world. If children of God die from this virus they are blessed to see His face. Jesus taught that life is not about the things of this life. The material possessions do not save us or define us. The character of trust is found in the voice of the faithful who trust in God, rely upon His mercy and grace and show others their faith in the face of this great trial.

Francis of Sales wrote, “Everyone knows how to be resigned amid the joys and happiness of prosperity, but to be so amid storms and tempests is peculiar to the children of God.” (Consoling Thoughts of, ed. Huguet; 1567-1622). David summed it up: “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”

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God’s Plan For Homebound


You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:7-9)

God’s Plan For Homebound

Americans have become accustomed to the expansive culture of social interaction whether through electronics or the constant pursuit of entertainment, recreation and nonstop schedules of ball games, movies, vacations and such like. The nuclear society has disintegrated into a hectic world of work, isolationism from neighbors, limited family interaction and social distancing before the term became defined with a virus. Vance Havner correctly observed the automobile took the family into the world and television has brought the world into the home. The days of “Father Knows Best” are gone. Families rarely have meals together. Couples and parents work long hours. The children go to baseball, basketball, volleyball, soccer, piano, horse backing riding, theatre and a myriad of practices and then fill the calendar with endless games and programs as they pass in the night their parents. Lock-key parenting is a common practice where children come home to an empty house devoid of parental guidance.

The world changed when a virus infected thousands and governments began a program of isolating groups to stem the tide of the disease. One of the great changes that have taken place is the need for families to remain in place – homebound. Parents and children have to spend time together locked in the same house. Travel is restricted, activities canceled and homes have become the bastions of the long-forgotten art of: family. For many, it is a strange and new world. They recognize the faces sitting across the table as members of the family identified by pictures hanging on the walls. Parents are having to reconnect with their children. The transition is fraught with danger and panic. Many homes are ill-equipped. Thankfully there is access to the internet and televisions, tablets and computers glow 24-hours a day with zombies dwelling as worshippers before them giving honor to the electronic gods of mindless entertainment.

God has had a plan for the home since He expelled Adam and Eve from the garden. He created the man and woman to fill the earth. The family was established in the garden and the home was established upon the principles of God’s word and His will. Through the procreation of children the world was filled but sadly what was lacking was what made the family strong. Lost in the carnal pursuits of frivolity was the home where God was the center of its formation. When God gave the law to the Hebrews, He outlined the design of the godly home as a place where the knowledge of God was central. Children must be taught to love the Lord God with all their hearts. The instruction came from the voice of parents instilling in their families the godly principles of righteousness and truth. Diligence was required to teach the family the word of God. The divine plan for the home-bound was to learn to love the Lord God with all their heart, all their soul, and all their strength. This would require and demand parents who would commit themselves wholeheartedly to the commands of God.

An important key to the home is that God’s word must be repeated constantly in the hearing of the family. The Lord tells the parents to repeat them again and again to their children. Talk about them when they are at home and when they are on the road, when they are going to bed and when they are getting up. Place reminders of the law of God throughout the home. God’s plan for the home-bound was to instruct the family in the ways of the Lord. Whether in required isolation or when the crisis passes and the home is free to travel about, God’s word must be at the center of the home. Being bound to the home is a good thing when used properly. It may become a time when families reconnect with one another. Most importantly it must be a time when families connect with God.

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The Present Distress

Covid 19 church

I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress—that it is good for a man to remain as he is. (1 Corinthians 7:26)

The Present Distress

The world is living in an incredible time of change. There has not been this kind of global impact since the depression during the 1930s that put the world economy into an economic depression. The COVID-19 virus began innocuously enough in the minds of most people but has become a health pandemic and economic nightmare. Leaders of all nations are scrambling to tighten controls on the spread of the virus that has claimed many lives. The church has had to reassess its procedures in a manner unprecedented in the lives of all of God’s people. What was a common sight of saints gathering together to exhort, encourage and admonish one another is now considered a threat to the health of those susceptible to the ravages of the disease.

There can be no doubt the church is living in perilous times. This is not the first time the church has come under attack from sources that will change the makeup and outlook of the kingdom of God. In Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth he offers advice to the people of God regarding marital decisions in a time of great distress. The church had written to Paul with concerns about marriage and relationships between men and women. Paul confirmed the will of God by showing that nothing had changed in the mind of God regarding the marriage vow and that the people of God should exert every effort to honor the Lord in their marriage. Nestled within the instructions of how to obey the word of the Lord, the apostle makes a suggestion that seems to point to advising people to remain as they are because of a distress that was afflicting the church. Paul realized that because of the time that it would be prudent for some to remain as they are and this instruction was merely a means of advice that would better serve the situation. He did not suggest this would be a binding law of celibacy. His advice was simply to try and make lives a little easier for those who were enduring the suffering that was coming against the church. Because of the distress, wisdom would dictate to make different decisions that would not normally be advised. All of this pointed to the present distress.

There is a great similarity with the advice of Paul and the very real present distress that is coming against the norms of the worship, ministry, and work of the church. Things are not the same with churches having to cancel services unable to meet together with larger groups for the foreseeable future. This is very unsettling and causing concern. It has been taken for granted the joys of assembly and the personal fellowship of greeting one another. What was the norm has now become a rarity. The leaders of government and health organizations are warning against more than ten or fifty people meeting together flying in the face of what the church has been doing for two thousand years. The early church met regularly as a people united in the work of the Lord and that is now threatened. No one would have imagined the year 2020 would be marred by the upheaval of a single virus impacting the church worldwide.

The present distress brings about change. Paul gave his advice on the distress his fellow Christians were living through and today there must be sound judgment and merciful kindness to all involved in this tragedy. Every congregation is autonomous in the decisions they must make in the situation they find themselves in their communities. There are no right answers that are imposed upon every church. Each group must make a decision that comes from their circumstance, need and impact of the virus on their community. One of the concerns for the New Testament church is the partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Many churches have taken proactive means to ensure people are comfortable in how the supper is conducted. Questions have been raised about churches canceling services and families having worship at home. This is a perilous time and changes have been in place that requires other means to worship. Strong arguments have been made in the past against those who denied the nature of the assembled church to engage in the work of the Lord but this is distress that has temporarily retooled the manner the church carries out its work. What churches are doing now is not going to be the norm. It is the fervent prayer of all the faithful the days of this virus will pass and the church will once again be able to return to the pattern of the New Testament. Until that time and because of the present distress, some decisions are made that are in the best interest of the members of the local church guided by the decisions of godly men who still serve the purpose of the church.

Paul sought to deflect any harsh judgments against a man who decided in the distress of the Corinthians to remain as he was. This same attitude must pervade the hearts of God’s people to realize that everyone is trying to do the best they can in very uncertain and quite honestly fearful times. How large this virus will impact the world is unknown. What is known is there is a real concern for the health of many and the economic impact will last for years. May God’s people continue to shine as examples of faith in the God that promised that He would never leave nor forsake His people. God still rules and He still loves His people. Trust in the Lord. The Lord is our strength and our song; He will give victory whether in life or death.

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God Is Aware

God Is Aware

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” (Jonah 1:1-2)

God Is Aware

The great city of Nineveh is one of the oldest cities in the world. It was founded by Nimrod, great-grandson of Noah. It was a great and populous city that would one day be the capital city of the empire of Assyria. The city lay on the eastern bank of the Tigris river along which it stretched for 30 miles, having an average breadth of 10 miles or more. Few cities in antiquity can rival the size and power of Nineveh. Located almost six hundred miles from Jerusalem, the city of Nineveh would play a pivotal role in the history of Israel. The Assyrian army would annihilate the northern ten tribes of Israel by the hand of God and the prophets Nahum and Zephaniah would preach against the city and predict its final destruction through the will of God. Jonah is sent to the city to preach a message of repentance because God knew how great the wickedness of the city was.

Nineveh was nearly six hundred miles from Jerusalem but God knew how great the wickedness of the city had become and sent Jonah to try and change the hearts of the people. Jonah was very effective in his preaching as the whole city repented with sackcloth and ashes proclaiming a fast from the greatest of them to the least. Even the king was penitent in begging for the mercy of God to spare the city. When God saw their works that they turned from their evil way He relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. God was aware of their wickedness and He knew the sincerity of their hearts to repent.

Jonah tried to evade the command of God taking a ship to the furthest reaches of the known world but God knew where he was. It would have seemed probable that when the Lord came to Jonah to tell him to cry out against the city of Nineveh, the prophet would have known there was no place to hide from the Divine. His attempts failed. The wickedness of the city had come up before the Lord because God was aware of how wicked the city had become. Only through His grace and mercy was He extending a chance of pardon to the inhabitants of Nineveh if they would repent. Jonah preached a message of repentance telling the people that in forty days God would rain destruction upon the great city if they did not repent. What the people of Nineveh believed was that God knew their hearts, their lives, and their purpose. Their repentance came from the truth revealed in the message of Jonah that God knew all things and He was aware. It changed their hearts.

To make God laugh is only to see a man trying to hide anything from the all-seeing eye of the Creator. Some men will engage in criminal activity that may never be known to the human eye but God knows. The suffering, neglected and dispossessed is known by the one who created all men. When the heart is filled with anger, the eye of God sees. If the spirit of man is penitent, the mind of God knows. A broken heart is heard by the mercy of God. For the city of Nineveh, their wickedness had come before the Lord. Everything is open and lay bare before the eye of God. There is nothing that man can do that will not be known by the Lord whether good or bad. For the wicked, this should be a warning. The righteous are blessed in the comfort of knowing that the Father cares for them and He knows their pain and their joy.

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We Are Not Alone

alone not

Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:32-33)

We Are Not Alone

As Jesus walked with the eleven to the Garden of Gethsemane, He gave them assurances of hope and promise in a trial they did not know was coming. It would be a very short time when Judas would bring the Jewish and Roman mob to arrest Jesus and the next day crucify the Son of God. After washing the disciple’s feet and identifying Judas as the traitor, the Lord spoke to the remaining eleven about how the world would know they were His disciples. Much of what Jesus describes comes from the character of the person. They would love one another, be filled with the Spirit of God, endure persecution with hope and promise and live with the knowledge that they would never be alone because the Father would always care for them.

Jesus knew what was about to happen to Him and He knew how the disciples would respond. When He was arrested the disciples forsook Him and fled. Only Peter followed at a distance but shortly denied he knew Jesus. John would be found at the cross with the mother of Jesus and several women. Jesus stood alone before the Jewish rulers and He confounded Pilate and Herod when He refused to answer their questions as they thought a condemned man would. No one came to the defense of Jesus. There were no words of encouragement and hope offered by any of the apostles or the many disciples that followed Jesus. His followers were scattered, each to his own. They deserted Jesus at His most critical time of need but He was not alone.

Fear can make the heart feel empty and alone. The pain of fear is to think there is no hope and no one will care or help in times of need. Jesus had been betrayed by one of His apostles, forsaken by His disciples, and denied by (of all people) Peter (three times). As they put chains on Him and led Him away to the city, He walked alone but not afraid. Those who arrested Him did not treat Him gently or with kindness. They viewed the man from Nazareth as a criminal who deserved to die. Standing before Caiaphas the high priest, Jesus was not afraid. When Jesus was dragged before Pilate He had no fear. The Lord refused to speak with Herod the king. Finally, when Pilate tried cowardly to release Jesus, the Lord remained silent. Through all of this ordeal, Jesus was spit upon, beaten, abused, ridiculed and mocked – and He said nothing.

Facing the scourging of the Romans would bring the greatest fear in the heart of any man. Jesus faced the cruel hand of physical pain with courage and faith. No one stood with Jesus. All men stood against Him. Jesus was not alone. He knew the Father had not forsaken Him and He knew that at His bidding He could have called twelve legions of angels to destroy humanity. Thank God He did not. Jesus knew He was not alone and that while all the world stood against Him, He knew the Father was with Him. Peace in the world comes from the knowledge the Father will never forsake His people. The way Jesus overcame the world was to remember that in the face of all the adversity He endured for the sake of saving the world the Father never would forsake Him and leaven Him. This strength helped Him endure the trials of the cross in the hope and promise of the resurrection.

Life can be filled with fear and trepidation. Uncertainty fills the air, hopelessness can seize the heart and the spirit of man can wax old under the weight of fear. It matters not if all the world forsake the righteous because the Father never will. Jesus endured the most terrible fear knowing He was never alone. The Father had promised to always be there and the peace that came to Jesus blossomed from the knowledge His Father would always care for Him. Jesus prayed for another way if it was the will of the Father but God let men treat Jesus harshly and kill Him. The Father never left Jesus. He raised Him from the dead. Life can be cruel and hard and many times death will come. For the child of God, the greatest promise is not joy in this life but the joy found in the resurrection. When the day of rebirth comes and the Lord brings His children home to Him, then all will know the Father never abandoned His children. We are not alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

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