There have been times when I feel very alone and lonely, but I have never felt abandoned by God.
Now, before I go on, I know there are those who have felt abandoned by God.
People who have faced great and long periods of pain.
People who have been prisoners of war.
People who have been victims of abuse or violence.
The people of Israel not only felt God's cold shoulder, God admits that he abandoned them. How horrible that must have been!
In the admitting, God promises never to abandon them again. What an incredible promise that is! Read these words again.
"For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
In a surge of anger
I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
I will have compassion on you,"
says the LORD your Redeemer.
"To me this is like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
never to rebuke you again.
Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,"
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Jesus repeats this promise as he is about to ascend into heaven: "I will not leave you comfortless, but I will come to you and your heart shall rejoice."
You might be feeling very lonely at this very moment. You might feel abandoned. But, you have not been left alone.
God also swore not to be angry with us anymore. Just as he promised never to flood the earth again to destroy it, he promised never to be angry with us again. That is an incredible promise! Instead, God says, "My unfailing love for you will not be shaken."
God's stance toward us is love and presence.