“…Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent…” Luke 24:29 (KJV)
Tonight, I sat with Mom in her living room looking at old pictures and cards people have given her through the years. I am sure I have seen most or maybe all of them before, but it seemed important to her that I take each one of them and re-read them and look at the pictures again. I kind of got the feeling she just didn’t want us to leave….that she was trying to find ways to keep me interested so Zachary and I would stay a few minutes longer.
Mom lives alone, and she gets very, very lonely. I remember through the years, one of her biggest fears was being left alone in life. She left home and married at 18, and by the time her first husband died, she had four children. She was a widow, but she took comfort in the fact that she was a mother, and her children were still with her. A few years later, she married Dad, and at this time one of my sisters was still living at home. One year later, I was born. My sister married and left home when I was nine, and eleven years later, I left home and moved away. Then it was just Mom and Dad. In 2000, Dad passed away, and for the first time, Mom’s deep-grounded fears became a reality. She found herself completely alone at the age of 72. It occurred to me one day, that for 72 years, someone had always lived with Mom.
There is something about being in a house alone. The silence is deafening, and the feeling of isolation can be overwhelming. There is comfort in knowing someone familiar to you is in the house…somewhere. Mom had always had that comfort….for 72 years. When Dad died, she was in a very unfamiliar, uncomfortable place in life, and it scared her.
During the 11 years since Dad passed away, Mom has suffered a serious car accident which left her with three broken bones and in need of major surgery at the age of 77; a subsequent stroke immediately after surgery; an intestinal blockage which required major surgery at age 80; and another blockage and emergency surgery three years later at age 83. Each time, God’s healing power has been amazing. He has so mercifully permitted her to recover, and each time He has enabled her to go home again…alone.
Mom has had to face the biggest fears of her life, and she has been and continues to be a real trooper. I used to hope she would find someone to share her life, but at this point, it appears she will live out the rest of her years by herself. But, is she alone? Jesus said He would never leave us nor forsake us but He would go with us always….He is always there. Through every dark and lonely night, in every silent moment, and enclosed in each isolated scene, He stands close…watching, comforting, calming every fear, drying every tear.
One day, there were two men walking the lonely 7 ½ mile trek between
and Emmaus. Their hearts were sad and grieving because Jesus, the One they followed and who they had hoped was the Messiah, had been brutally killed by cruel men. They were disillusioned, disappointed, and not sure what to do next. They felt very much alone and completely forsaken. Jerusalem
As they walked along, Jesus Himself drew near and began to walk along with them. They didn’t recognize Him. Their hearts were so broken, it probably never even occurred to them who He really was. In their minds, Jesus, standing there in the flesh, walking alongside them, was not even a remote possibility. He asked them why they were sad. They found it unbelievable that anyone could be in that area and not know the reason for their sadness!
He listened as they vented their frustrations, and then He began to speak. Oh, the comfort in His words! They were words of life and hope and encouragement! Words that started way back with Moses, went through all the prophets, and expounded all that had been written and foretold about Him! They listened with rapt attention until they reached their destination in the
. As they slowed their pace to go in to the house, Jesus kept walking. Something in the two men could not let Him go…..they longed for His presence and the comfort of simply having Him with them. “Abide with us”, they invited, as He was walking away. That is all He needed….just an invitation! He went in to the house with them, and as they sat down to eat dinner, their eyes were opened when He blessed the meal. Finally, they recognized who He was! After He vanished out of their presence, they asked one another, “Did not our hearts burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:32 (KJV) village of Emmaus
They were not alone! They had seen the Lord, and He had walked and talked with them! He had risen from the dead, and there was hope! Their courage was renewed so much that they left and walked the 7 ½ miles back to
that same night! Jerusalem
It comforts me to know that Jesus will always show up during the loneliest, most isolated moments of our lives. He will draw near as we walk in quiet sadness. He will appear on the scene, and He will offer hope. He will remind us of his Word and all of the promises and comfort we can find in it. His presence is real, and we will find that we never want Him to leave. Our hearts will burn within us with renewed courage to walk another mile as we hear the soothing comfort of His voice.
Mom may be the only one living in her little apartment, but Mom is not alone. She never will be. She tells me how God brings comforting songs and Scriptures to her mind in the night when she awakens and cannot sleep. I can just picture Jesus standing there whispering them to her in the darkness, encouraging her, reminding her He is there and always will be.
Do you feel lonely and abandoned? Are you faced with the cold, harsh reality of being alone when you go to bed each night? Do you long for the days when you had someone with you? There is Someone there, my friend. Your sadness may be so intense that you do not recognize Him, but He is there. Psalm 145:18 (KJV) says, “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him…” Listen to His voice speaking words of comfort to you. Allow Him to remind you that no matter how dark it looks, you will never be forsaken. When you have spent some time listening to Him, you will find that you do not ever want Him to leave. He won’t…if you, like the two lonely men walking to Emmaus, will just invite Him to stay.