Deserted, but not Alone

Have you ever been in a difficult or dark time when you felt all alone?

Did it feel as though everyone you knew had forsaken you? Maybe it was a crisis in your family or marriage and your friends didn’t know how to handle it. A difference of beliefs or conviction can drive a wedge between people and leave us feeling heartbroken and isolated.

Jesus experienced dark days near the end of his life. The men he had spent three years of his life with abandoned him when trouble arrived.

Heavily armed guards sent by the chief priest and scribes arrested Jesus after He prayed all night preparing for the upcoming universal battle between life and death. His disciples saw Him walk on water, feed thousands of men, women, and children, heal the sick and give sight to the blind; they even saw Him raise the dead. Yet, they deserted Him.

Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’” Mark 14:27 (ESV).

Years ago, my husband and I shared a friendship with four other couples. We attended the same church, dined at each other’s home, shared life, worshipped and studied God’s Word together. I loved these people as though they were my flesh and blood.

I was preparing to teach a Revelation study I had written for our class. One day during prayer, the Lord warned my husband the Bible study would come under attack.

We prayed and asked our friends to pray for the study and us as well. Halfway into the study, a division within our ensemble of friends developed. The split was not because of the Bible study but resulted from one couple walking away from their faith and God. No one knew what to do, so they ignored it. As a result, it divided us.

Because I wanted to fix it, I reached out to my pastor for advice—my friends viewed that as disloyalty. I was a snitch.

Those once close friends now treated my husband and me as if we no longer existed. It was horrible. Not only had a great friend walked away from the church and God, but our other brothers and sisters ostracized us for seeking help outside our group.

I was miserable while I continued teaching my study without them. My family sat alone during Sunday services while the remaining three couples of our once tight-knit group filled a separate row.

God did not leave me; He moved in closer.

I experienced a more intimate relationship with Him than I had never known. God healed my hurt and my wounds as I forgave those friends. We no longer see each other, but I hold nothing against them and have told them as much.

Jesus forgave His disciples, too. He restored them and used them mightily in the days that followed. He never left them nor forsook them.

Matthew 6:14 reminds us we all have debts to pay. If we forgive those who have wronged us, the Father will forgive us. If we do not forgive others, the Father will not forgive us of our sin.

 “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14 (ESV)

Will you forgive those who have left or betrayed you? It doesn’t matter whether they are sorry or have asked you for forgiveness.

God knows your pain and can heal it.

He will free you, if you ask; I promise.

Jesus came to mend the brokenhearted.

[Jesus] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 (ESV)

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Often difficult to understand while in the midst of something like this, with time comes perspective and understanding, if we seek God’s understanding. Your points are well received ma’am. We must be willing to forgive, even if we feel the offense was not ours. We must also remember that although we may be separated in the world, God never leaves us. In your friends case, they may have turned their backs on God (and I pray they found their way back), but I am certain God has never turned His back on them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stephanie P. says:

      You’re right, J.D., I look back on this situation with different eyes. I hold no hard feelings. I’m not sure that this woman ever returned to Jesus, but Jesus has never left her. Thank you!

      Like

  2. Scott Harris says:

    Amen. Well said, it happens more often than we think to many who are unwilling to share it from shame and guilt. Bringing it into the light eliminates its power.
    Psalm 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stephanie P. says:

      A broken heart can lead to bitterness. Forgiveness frees us more than anyone else. Thank you, Scott!

      Like

  3. karentfriday says:

    Stephanie, those kinds of betrayals from close friends are often the hardest to take, especially when they are other believers. As a youth pastor’s wife and the lead pastor’s wife in ministry for over 30 years, I agree it’s a tough situation to walk through and has happened to us. So thankful the Lord helps us forgive with the example of Jesus and I like how you said Jesus moved in closer to you. His is the most intimate and loyal relationship of all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stephanie P. says:

      Amen! Sometimes being in ministry is harder than other “jobs.” I once heard a pastor’s wife say, “Sometimes sheep bite.” That has stuck with me.

      Like

  4. jabez1288 says:

    Hebrews tells us God never leaves nor forsakes us. I find it hard when people you know really well walk away from God and from friendship. In either case, restoration is just one “ask” away through forgiveness. Thanks for sharing your personal journeys! ~ Ben Cooper

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stephanie P. says:

      Thank you, Ben. In my case, Jesus did not restore our friendships after forgiveness. Some relationships can be toxic and not good for us. This was the case for me. But, forgiveness still has to happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Carla Femat says:

    Amen…He is is always there. A rock, our tent , our deliverer. Thank you for the wonderful reminder. Praise Him, draw nearer to Him and he will draw nearer to us. More of Him and less of me!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Situations like that are heart-breaking, but you wisely realized the need to forgive. Distance from others does draw us closer to God. Thank you for sharing wisdom from your pain, Stephanie.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Stephanie P. says:

    Thank you, Jeanne! The Lord wastes nothing, He even uses our pain for good. I learned important lessons through that. I think we always need to be open and ask our Father what He is teaching us in a situation.

    Like

  8. I am thankful for the healing and freedom that is ours when we forgive others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stephanie P. says:

      Yes, Jesus is faithful!

      Like

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