…because God said, “Never will I leave you.”
I went to dinner with some friends the other night. It was a simple get-together at one of our favorite local restaurants. The atmosphere was upbeat and casual. Smiling patrons lined the bar and filled the booths throughout the dining room. Several sat outside on a twinkling-light-lit patio. For a moment, it felt like life was back to normal; I didn’t have a care in the world. I was at peace. As we stood in line waiting to be seated, though, I overheard the woman in front of us speaking with the hostess. The young girl gathering menus said, “Welcome, how many in your party?” The woman politely responded, “Just one; I’m a party of one.”
She was a tall, dark-haired beautiful woman. My initial thought was, certainly she can’t be here by herself! I felt drawn to her and I wanted to know more about her. I watched as she followed the hostess to a quiet table in the corner and I reflected on how she may be feeling dining alone. If I’m honest, I felt sorry for her. As the hostess cleared away the extra place setting from the table, the woman reached down in her pocket and pulled out what looked like a small white stone with a cross on it. I was wrong, she was not alone. She was having dinner with Jesus.
“But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you…and on that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.”
Friends, we are never alone. There have been many seasons in my life where I experienced debilitating loneliness and isolation. I had lost sight of God’s promises and unwavering love for me. It took others in my spiritual community to remind me that God was with me, that He gave me an advocate to help me and to be with me forever, just like John records in his gospel. My advocate, your advocate, the Holy Spirit, the very presence of God who lives within all believers, helping us to live as God desires. And by faith, we spread His word; we become builders of His kingdom because a faith that goes forward triumphs. The Holy Spirit is a powerful person on our side working in, for, and with us. To have the Holy Spirit is to have Jesus Himself!
I continue to think about the woman at dinner. How brave and content, how confident she must be in her faith and in her ability to be ‘alone.’ She knows that God will never leave her. Do you think those seated near her witnessed the white stone? Was the Holy Spirit at work, encouraging her to put the stone on the table for all to see? Was she building His kingdom that very night? I believe she was; and, I pray she knows the lives she touched on that casual night in a restaurant under the glow of twinkling lights.
“I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.”