Jesus promises His disciples saying, “I will not leave you as orphans…” (Jn. 14:18).
Some of the most unhappy sights are solitary. A brown-leafed tree standing sentinel over a furled field in the rain. A lakeside cabin closed for the winter. A once-loved bicycle leaning indefinitely against the side of a garage. Weeds growing in concrete cracks on a once busy road. They remind us of our loss of fellowship or a time when we were left alone, forgotten, or exposed.
From time to time, our paths cross human versions of those solitary images; the woman with no front teeth asking for a dollar as you walk into a restaurant or the disheveled grey-bearded man counting loose change with tired hands, paying for half a sandwich at a gas station. You notice the melancholy way they avert their eyes, telling us they have tragically learned to manage being utterly alone. Whenever or wherever their final cut occurred, survival amid a human wilderness became all-consuming. To some extent we have all been acquainted with being everyone else’s stranger (Ex. 23:9).
What is worse is the picture of a person who is left alone in deadly peril—like a woman walking away sobbing after placing her starving child under a bush, desperately praying, “Do not let me see the boy die,” (Gen 21:16). But God is the champion of the vulnerable (Is. 25:4), and our soul is compelled to act when God causes our path to cross our abandoned neighbor.
When a woman faces an unplanned pregnancy, she considers abortion because she feels alone or threatened by abandonment. Even the most self-proclaimed independent women say things like, “If he would have expressed just a little interest in helping with the baby, I would never think about aborting.” Because of the lack of support she says, “I have no choice.” What will her family say and do when she goes home for Thanksgiving eight months pregnant? Will her boyfriend leave her if she dares to keep the baby?
One of the scariest things about being alone is when the aloneness becomes a spectacle. Surrounded by people refusing friendship is a magnifying glass in the mocking sun, burning us with the social intensity and emotional pain.
Jesus is acquainted with this grief. His disciples “all forsook Him” (Mk. 14:50). On the cross He alone bore the full wrath of God, crying out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mt. 27: 46)—a question one might imagine a woman or her preborn baby asking.
Jesus’ isolation became a spectacle on the cross. He was even mocked (Mk. 15:29) and taunted to do the very thing our fear drives us to try to do, “Save Yourself” (Lk. 23:37). But salvation is precisely the point. Saviors don’t need saving. Jesus could have saved Himself, but decided to stay on that cross—forsaking all fellowship. Why? For fellowships’ sake. So that we who cannot save ourselves might have the fellowship of a Savior. Jesus willingly became that forsaken spectacle because He refused to leave us as orphans (Jn. 14:18). He died and rose again so that He can “[love us] to the end” (Jn. 13:1).
But it does not end there. Christ died not only that He might love us but that we in turn might love others AS He loved us. Disciples of Jesus are secure, knowing God will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). Now we can confidently sacrifice on behalf of the fatherless, the stranger, and the oppressed (Ps. 146:9). Our Creator is for us, He abides with us. His affirming smile shines as we in our turn sacrifice on behalf of others, “For I gave you an example that you should also do as I did to you” (Jn 13:15).
Jesus performed no greater work than opening the dungeon door of eternal death, being spent to pay the price of the sin that imprisoned us. What then does it mean when He promised, “…he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (Jn. 14:12)? Perhaps He had in mind His followers’ self-sacrifice, leveraging their mustard seeds of faith in Him to move mountains of social injustice like abortion—one woman, one baby at a time (Mt. 17:20).
Our sin made us orphans, oppressed, strangers fending for ourselves in a spiritual wasteland. Through Christ’s sacrifice, we are being made whole—and all the more as we walk out His mission, a mission by which we are made beneficiaries… “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10).
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Nova Wanted to Keep Her Baby Until…
Nova was excited to be pregnant, but the circumstances of her life caused her to doubt.
The Church through CompassCare served her with ethical medical care and comprehensive community support, restoring her joy and saving her baby. Watch her story.
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