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“You Do Not Leave Us Alone”

Many of my days begin with a bit of time spent in an Anabaptist prayer-book called Take Our Moments and Our Days. During this morning’s prayers, my mind was scattered and I was finding it difficult to concentrate, to focus, to pray.

One line caught my attention, as countless others sailed by unnoticed:

You do not leave us alone.

There are at least two ways that this sentence could be interpreted.

You do not leave us alone.

You never stop pestering, prodding, convicting, unsettling, and provoking us. When we wander, your memory haunts us. When we nurse our private grievances, when we cling to bad habits and cherished sins, when rebellion seems preferable to faithfulness, when apathy seems more appealing than conviction, when you really just don’t seem worth the bother, you continue to stalk our paths. When we tire of the messy, disjointed, winding road of faith, you remain, uncomfortably, in front of us. When it all seems too unbelievable, when your silence grows too loud, when the stories from our Scriptures that speak of you are too ugly, too boring, too, confusing, when another prayer goes unanswered, when another story seems too soaked in pain to possibly take on, when we would rather just wash our hands of you, when we would rather just be left alone, you refuse to give us what we think we want. You are the hound of heaven and, sometimes despite our most determined efforts, we cannot shake you.

You do not leave us alone.

You speak to us in whispers, in intuitions, in warm embraces, in convictions that won’t seem to loose their hold on our souls. I have not left you as orphans, you say, and sometimes, we even believe you. No, we are not alone. In this vast cosmos where our presence seems to barely register, we walk with you, who are stronger and truer than we will ever be. When we are weak and fragile, you are solid and strong. When we are weary, you offer rest, renewal, new life. When we are full of joy and hope and peace, you add your glad amen. When we hunger for meaning, for purpose, for something, anything—a clue! a sign!—to give hope that there is more to all this than meets the eye, your goodness and beauty overwhelm us. When we need a friend for the road, you walk with us, to strengthen and inspire, gladden and encourage. When we need forgiveness for the countless ways in which we fall short of your best intentions, we know the well never runs dry. When we long for salvation, we know that you are strong to save. We know that it is you who will vindicate us—that it is you who will prove that all our frantic clinging and restless hoping has not been in vain.

You do not leave us alone.

And we give you glad thanks for both of the ways.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. James #

    Great word this morning, Ryan. My Psalm is 139 and the phrase “you hem me in before and behind” has the same double resonance that echoes through my life.
    Have a blessed day!

    August 30, 2013
    • I love that line from Psalm 139. Thanks, James.

      August 30, 2013
  2. mike #

    That’s Beautiful,man

    August 30, 2013

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