God never says “Goodbye”
by Lt. Colonel Mervyn Morelock –
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast (Psalm 139:7-10 NIV).
Recently I read a story about a young father who, while tucking in his little son at bedtime, explained how much God loves us. He said, “Son, even through the night while you are sleeping, God never says ‘Goodbye.’ He’s always here, watching over you, caring for you, protecting you. You need never fear the darkness, because God is always there.”
The Psalmist describes this truth a little differently in Psalm 139. He says that the presence of God is with us, no matter where we are, even in the most distressful circumstances: “Even there your right hand will hold me.”
Sometimes we feel that God is far away; even that he has forsaken us. In times of trouble and sorrow it is not unusual to feel alone, but God’s love and care does not ebb and flow based on our feelings. He is always near—as near as a whispered prayer.
A little girl’s parents once announced that due to daddy’s change of work the family had to move to another city. On her last morning in the house where she had grown up, she knelt by her bed, amid the boxes, and prayed, “Well, goodbye, God; we are moving to Texas!”
One of the men at our ARC attended the funeral service for his father who had committed suicide. I’ve often about what goes through the mind of a person who takes his own life. My heart aches when I imagine their feeling of being so utterly lost and alone and in such despair that they couldn’t go on. The loss is often worse for those who remain, because there is no answer to the question, “What could I have done to convince them of God’s love and pardon and show them the good news of God’s mercy and care? Would the outcome have been different?
God is never far away. He never sleeps, is always on guard.
It is much like the story of Indian boys, who in their rite of passage to become an adult, are required to spend a night blindfolded alone in the wilderness. If they survive this test, they are worthy to be considered a man of the tribe. The boy must stand alone, on a rock, in the dark, with only the sounds of the night to listen to. There are wolves and bears, and creeping, scary things that make noises through the long, fearful night. When dawn breaks and the blindfold is lifted, he sees his father who has been standing quietly by, all through the night, keeping watch over his son.
God is like that. He never leaves us or forsakes us. “He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:3 NIV).
Many readers of New Frontier receive the “Call to Prayer” bulletins. Some prayer requests are repeated every week, sometimes for months, until an answer is received.
Recently, we received a prayer request regarding a newborn baby who did not breathe for over five minutes after being delivered. There was fear of brain damage. And the mother suffered heart stress because of the difficult delivery. A prayer request went out across the territory. Hours after the list was distributed, an e-mail was received: “Praise God for answered prayer! The baby is fine—no brain damage! The mother is fine—no lasting effects of the stress of the delivery.
God never says, “Goodbye.” He loves us too much!