Tag Archives: alone

Veil of Tears 90: Abandoned

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I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had left; he was gone. My heart sank at his departure. I looked for him but did not find him. I called him but he did not answer.” Song of Solomon 5:6 NIV

One of the hardest facts of life is that people move on. They may feel they’ve outgrown us or we them, or that there is too much distance or difference between us and them for any meaningful continuation of a relationship or friendship. Sometimes of course it is us doing the leaving behind.

Often these partings are the culmination of a slow demise, a difficulty communicating, or they may come after a break of trust. Other times it is a selfish move onto something or someone else who seems better, and we feel left behind, discarded, abandoned and alone, and often broken-hearted.

If we are abandoned and don’t see it coming, we can feel caught totally off-guard. It can feel like a catastrophe, as though the world were coming to an end. If it is the end of a marriage or relationship, it can also feel like a bereavement, as though half of us is missing. Like someone whose partner has died, we may well keep turning around to talk to someone who isn’t there. Devastated doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Some of us are abandoned by parents, either when very young, and put up for adoption, or later by needing to go into care. In the first case we probably don’t find out till later in life and have a great shock and a lot of questions to deal with, and in the latter, it must feel like the world has crumbled under our feet.

Even If we haven’t known any of these greater abandonments, we have surely all been left behind by someone we trusted or thought was our friend. However shallow or high the drop, the fall (not to mention the landing) is desperately hard. But perhaps at some point we can look back and see our abandonments with different eyes. Hindsight and time are great healers of course, so that is easier to do the longer it was ago. Maybe we can see a rescue or a release instead of a desertion. Maybe that relationship, that friendship or bad parenting was crushing us.

If I had not been abandoned myself many years ago, I might never have come to understand that greater and safer relationship in my life that I have with God. What a calamity that would have been! I will never make light of what I suffered in the aftermath of my heartbreak nor what any of us go through when we are cast aside, but I will begin to slowly and circumspectly rejoice that I have received instead a new heart, still scarred, but joined to my Lord, the living loving God of mercy who will never leave or reject me. To rejoice too in relationships that were made stronger in those years when I was at my most broken, and in the new ones that have come since.

It is certainly true that God can use all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose, as Romans 8:28 tells us. And we learn through these painful leavings and partings, whether of lovers or friends, that there is really only one person to be utterly relied upon, who will never leave us or forsake us.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

48: The Lonely God

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It was for me the day of vengeance;

the year for me to redeem had come.

I looked, but there was no one to help,

I was appalled that no one gave support;

so my own arm achieved salvation for me,

and my own wrath sustained me.

I trampled the nations in my anger;

in my wrath I made them drunk

and poured their blood on the ground.” Isaiah 63:4-6 NIV

No, your eyes are not deceiving you, I am using the same text as I did yesterday, because I have a little more to say. It’s about the things we see and don’t see. All of the commentaries I read about this section of scripture for yesterday’s piece emphasise that it is a messianic vision of Judgement Day, that Jesus is both the sacrificial lamb and the warrior figure. None of them mention the sadness that pervades the text.

If we look past the violent imagery in this prophecy, the overwhelming sadness and anger of the Lord is that he is working alone. He wanted help and support and there was none in the offing. This appals, or in some other translations, astonishes him. For this is our forsaken God, sad but nevertheless walking out in triumph. His fate is always to be left alone, forgotten, turned away from, left to do it all himself. And this is heart breaking. And it is as true in acts of judgement as it is in his lonely cry on the cross. And within this I hear a deep call to Oneness for all believers. For God has always and will always want us for his family, for his friends, for his children. But I wonder if there are some things, nevertheless, like a king or a general, that he must do alone.

But this surprise the Lord shows makes me wonder, might we then partake in the work of redemption? Would he have needed his wrath to sustain him if he had had company? Might the redeeming work have been done, or be done, a different way with help? Of course, the idea of prophecy is that it comes true, but there are times when it is used to spur change. Jonah prophesied the destruction of Nineveh, but because the city repented, God relented and the prophecy did not come to pass. This does not mean that the prophecy was in any way a lie, because it was what was going to happen when Jonah preached it. The outcome was changed by the action of the people and the heart of God. As Jonah says, “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.” (Jonah 4:2 NIV partial).

So perhaps this image of our Lord striding home bloodied from battle might spur us into asking him how we might help, how we might ease his burden. In truth it seems a foolish thought. But if the Lord wants help and support, what might be prayed now or done now to offer him the succour and help that this scripture tells us he will one day long for? I know that the most painful times in my life have been when I have felt utterly alone, especially when facing a mammoth or uphill task, and so this piece of scripture makes my heart ache for God. He certainly does not need my help, but perhaps he would like it. And maybe if those of us who love him come together as true church as his bride, we might work together with him, working towards the redemption of the world, and at least willing to walk with our general when the battle comes.

 

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyattt

Photo from Pixabay