At times I feel completely alone. I felt alone when I was in the hospital. Fear and anxiety would swallow me in the hours after midnight. I was quite simply afraid. Afraid of illness, afraid of pain, mostly afraid of being alone.
Normally, I am not a person of fear. Normally, I am confident and have assurance of God’s presence and protection. But I have seen a lot of life. I have seen pain and loss up close. I have known moments of fear.
In such times, I give myself the wise counsel I have given others. I reinforce within myself the promise that God will protect me. And I turn to the fourteenth chapter of John’s Gospel.
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you . . .
These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
In this passage of Scripture, I hear the divine promise. I lean on the assurance of the abiding Holy Spirit. I rest in the grace that God’s Spirit will never leave me. Listen to these words of promise written by Bishop Steven Charleston.
I will not leave you. The seas may rise and throw their fury against the land, the storm tossed night may rage to hold back the glimmering sun, but I will not leave you. I will stand through the night watches when all the world is asleep and I will hold my place in weather so fair it tempts others to drift away. I will not leave you but remain steadfast in my prayers, holding up your name to the listening heavens, repeating my call to care for you until the angels themselves bend low to earth to see such love. I am the Spirit that watches over you and I will not leave you.
Thanks be to the God who knows our fears and will never leave us or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6)