In the dark theater I felt as though I was suddenly watching myself on the big screen. The scene was of a 12 year old boy who had just miraculously survived a horrible Tsunami with his mother. Now at the hospital, his mother sends him from her bedside to go help others while she waits for the doctors to treat her. He does so and when he returns to her he finds that she’s gone – missing. He screams for her. He begs the nurses to tell him where they’ve taken her. No one speaks his language. They try to calm him but no one can tell him what has happened. Eventually he is led away to another area on hospital grounds. He is silent and in shock. He looks around at dozens and dozens of children innocently playing, all of them wearing the same kind of ID sticker he was just given. There are no words from his mouth but you can see his realization in the terror in his eyes. He is abandoned, alone. His father and brothers are presumed dead. His mother has vanished. He is all alone in a foreign country. He is an orphan. My throat ached as the tears welled up in my eyes. It was me. That could have been me. Then as clearly as any voice I have heard, I heard someone shout, “NEVER!”
I have struggled with abandonment issues all of my life and even though I had been told time and time again that Jesus would not leave me it was head knowledge more than heart knowledge. About a week before seeing this movie (“The Impossible”) I had done a Biblical word study on “abandon.” Every passage I looked at, with very few exceptions, basically said the same thing. It was something that God would not do to His people. While the study was helpful it was still an intellectual understanding rather than an emotional one… until I heard the shout.
I almost turned around in my chair the voice was so loud but I knew it hadn’t come from another person. It was from within my spirit and it was one of the few times I can say I audibly heard the Lord speak to me. “Never!” He kept saying. The power of His voice shook me. I looked at the screen and my heart for a split second returned again to that young man and the pain he must have been experiencing. Then I’d hear the Lord again. “Never will I leave you! It is impossible for me to leave you. I cannot abandon you. I cannot do that!” My reality changed in that instant.
In that instant I could no longer relate to that boy. I knew I had many experiences in my lifetime that made me feel like that boy must have felt, but no more. Suddenly things were different. God, my God, would not and could not leave me.
It’s been over a year now since that experience and all I can tell you is it’s has made an eternal difference to me. Anytime the thoughts of abandonment try to creep in I remember that shout, “Never!” And more importantly, now I believe it in my head and in my heart.
Maybe abandonment isn’t your thing but I think all of us struggle at times with feeling alone in the world. Even in a crowded room of people or within a loving family we can feel as though no one would notice if we suddenly slipped away. But there is One who would. There is One who wants to scream “Never!” in your ear, so that you’ll know in your heart that He is there… always. You may not experience Him the exact same way I did, but I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt He is real. He loves you. And He will never, ever, ever abandon you. Ask Him to show you. I believe He will.
Lord, thank you that there is one thing you’re never able to do…abandon your children.