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Posts Tagged ‘abandonment’


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Isaiah 42:16I will lead the blind on their journey; by paths unknown I will guide them. I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight.  These things I do for them, and I will not forsake them.

God says: I remind you constantly that you are precious to me.  I tell you daily that I turn all harm to good.  I place my hope in you continually.  Why do you think I might abandon you?  There is nothing you can do – or not do – that will cause me to disown or desert you. I abide with you endlessly.  You are my life.  

We doubt God because we doubt ourselves.  We become anxious when we stumble into unknown places; we panic when we cannot see around the next corner in our life journey.  We look for straight ways and find crooked paths.  Yet despite all our fear, throughout our stumbling, we are well-loved.  If only we might rise to God’s best hope for us.  Let us act as though we believe that we are not forsaken.


A re-post from August 20, 2012.

To reflect more on overcoming our fear of the unknown, visit The Jesus Bridge reflection on this blog; or spend some time taking a Journey of Transformation to discover your own blind journey.

To learn more about life coaching , click on the image above or go to: http://www.pathwaysnaturally.com/lifecoaching.htm

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Isaiah 51When We Feel Abandoned

Saturday, October 20, 2018

These are the first words that greeted me this morning in my email inbox.  They are from the Richard Rohr site to which I subscribe and currently Rohr is sending messages from his newest book, BREATHING UNDER WATER.  The title – and the meditation message below – speaks to anyone who has suffered deeply . . . and to anyone who longs to suffer well.

“Only people who have suffered in some way can save one anotherexactly as the Twelve Step program discovered. Deep communion and dear compassion is formed much more by shared pain than by shared pleasure. Only those who have tried to breathe under water know how important breathing really is, and will never take it for granted again. They are the ones who do not take shipwreck or drowning lightly, who can name “healing” correctly, who know what they are being saved from, and who develop the patience and humility to ask the right questions of God and of themselves.

“You see, only the survivors know the full terror of the passage, the arms that held them through it all, and the power of the obstacles that were overcome. Those who have passed over eventually find a much bigger world of endurance, meaning, hope, self-esteem, deeper and true desire, but most especially, a bottomless pool of love both within and without”.

From BREATHING UNDER WATER: SPIRITUALITY AND THE TWELVE STEPS, pp. 123,124,125 http://cacradicalgrace.org/resources/breathing-under-water

Here we have clear instructions for what to do when we are deeply troubled, for when we believe that we do not fully understand God’s plan, for when we may even feel abandoned by God.

Listen to me . . . we are instructed.  I will help you to breathe under water.  I will sustain you in a world that feels foreign to you.

Look to the rock from which you are hewn . . . God says to us.  You are made in my image.  I love you dearly.  I will never leave you.

Be attentive to me . . . God calls out to us.  I exist through all time and space as do you.  I speak to you now.  I am telling you that you will never fail.

Raise your eyes to the heavens and look at the earth below . . . we are challenged.  Choose life or death.  Choose your own plan or mine. 

Fear not the reproach of others . . . we are cautioned.  Their opinion means nothing in the light of eternity.  Follow the law rather than the whimsical judgment of those who chase after power, status and reputation.

Awake, awake, put on strength . . . God urges us.  I know that you are weary but my burden is light and my shoulders are broad.  I carry many but I long to carry you.

Hear me, you who know justice, you who have my teaching in your heart . . . God does not waver, God does not give up.  I, it is I who comfort you.  I am the Lord you God.  I have put my words into your mouth.  I have shielded you in the shadow of my hand.  I stretched out the heavens; I laid the foundations of the earth.  I am here to rescue you.

So when we are fear-filled, we must remember to ask for the grace, patience, and wisdom to discern God’s hand in all that happens around us.  When we feel abandoned, we must keep the arms of Jesus wrapped round us.  When it seems that all is hopeless, we must abide in the faith that God the Father knows all and keeps his promises.  When we are deeply troubled, we must ask intercession for those who have harmed us and done us damage.  When we feel utterly alone, we rest in the understanding and solace of the Holy Spirit.  And when we are healed . . . we turn to others to pass along the wonder of God’s love.


A re-post from September 17, 2011.

Images from http://www.flippersmack.com/ and http://recdive.com/2010/07/29/the-wonders-of-scuba-diving/

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Exodus 17In Our Midst

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Fear of abandonment is a horror that grips many and as a result lovers jilt one another so as not to be left by the other, parents abuse their children so as to not be disappointed, colleagues betray one another in order to keep a job, supervisors coerce workers in order to maintain complete control, friends disappear from relationships rather than work through conflict.  We can imagine how the kingdom might bloom if we were to fully comprehend one single fact . . . we are never alone . . . God is with us always and so there is no need to allow the terror of rejection to govern us.

Christ brings us a message of inversion, as we have said in many NoontimesHe tells us that what is up in our physical world is actually down in his.  The poor and the humble inherit, those who mourn rejoice, the hungry and thirsty are sated, and those who suffer persecution because of this belief reign.  When any of my siblings or I complained of an injustice – perceived or real – my mother would remind us easily and with a smile: The first will be last . . . the master is the servant. 

So if we are to live as if we believe in this first is last kingdom-building, we perceive abandonment as its inverted companion . . . union.  Christ is with us to remind us that the jilted are his special loves, the lost children his particular darlings, and the oppressed his best and closest friends.  In today’s Noontime, God shows the Hebrew people how much they are loved.  God tells them that they are not alone.  God reminds them that they are unique and chosen loved ones . . . yet they do not understand.  Across the millennia we hear their cry, see their pain, and we ask as the Hebrews did: Why do we suffer?  Why do things like this happen?  How are we to go on?  We are still God’s stiff-necked people.

Water springing from a rock, manna and quail in the desert: God knows that there are hidden gifts in hard, dry places;  God knows that manna gathers itself like dew in the desert morning;  God knows that great flocks of quail migrate over the wilderness and come to ground to rest; yet we persist in disbelief.  We continue to ask as the Hebrews ask: Is the Lord in our midst or not?   

In verses 8 through 13 we watch Joshua defeat the army of Amalek as long as Moses keeps his hands raised.  This story fascinated me as a child and I spent days lurking behind my brothers and sisters willing them to do things I wanted when I raised my hands to heaven.  God in great wisdom did not answer those requests . . . but God has answered many more as God accompanies me on my journey.

After the defeat of the Amalekites, the Lord says to Moses: Write this down in a document as something to be remembered, and recite it in the ears of Joshua.  In Old Testament language, the Lord tells the people that God will always be among them to defend them; God will not allow them to be wiped out.  God tells them that they are not alone, and that God will bring goodness out of evil . . . always.

We are never alone.  We are constantly loved.  We are rescued, comforted, healed and held . . . always and without fail.  There are no circumstances and no people we need ever fear.  The parched desert and the brutality of the Amalekites in our lives need not send us into panic because God is in our midst.

And so we too, can write this down . . . We have nothing to fear because the Lord will war against our enemies . . . throughout the centuries. 


We will be away from the Internet for several days. Please enjoy this reflection first posted on July 26, 2011. 

Image from: http://gambolinman.blogspot.com/2007/10/southwest-usa-precious-water-abounds-in.html 

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Psalm 22: Spiritual Warfare – Abandoned by God 

Francisco de Zurbarán: Agnus Dei

Easter Friday, April 6, 2018

Adapted from a reflection, entitled Spiritual Warfare, written on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2008.

On Veteran’s Day in the U.S., we celebrate the end of war. Today we reflect on Jesus’ death last Friday, and the silence that reigned in the Christian world last Saturday as Jesus transitioned from healing prophet to the Messiah Christ. If we are able to take the time to pause, we think a bit about the spiritual warfare in which we are all daily engaged. We consider the constant question of whether or not God has deserted a planet created for and in love. We reflect on the many times the world asks Christians . . . where is your God? And so we pray.

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

While still on the cross, Christ appealed to the father with this prayer that generations of his people have used while addressing God in times of stress.  In the NABRE the psalm bears the title Prayer of an Innocent Person.  Jesus, the unblemished lamb, dies in innocence, in the act of bringing healing to peoples crying for relief.  But Christ knew, as Paul tells us in Ephesians, Our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.  Paul describes the armor of God we must wear as we enter into the warfare each day: the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Our feet must be shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.  (Ephesians 6)

Many bulls surround me; fierce bulls of Bashan encircle me.

Bashan – a land east of the Jordan noted for the size of its animals – provides fierce opposition to the life of a Christian.  Again, Paul reminds us in his letter to Titus how to be consistent with sound doctrine, namely, that . . . [we] be temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, love and endurance, reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teaching what is good, so that they may train [others].  (Titus 2Paul also calls women to a role subordinate to men which was appropriate for the day – and which we now recognize as outmoded in its effect.  The point here is that combat as we witness need not be fierce.  It need only be faithful, prayer-filled, and consistent with the Gospel.

If we might find the minutes to pray this psalm today, we find not only the dark fear of abandonment, but also the burning hope of resurrection.

Tomorrow, proclaiming God’s name.


For more on the meaning of Bashan, visit: https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/bashan/http://biblehub.com/topical/b/bashan.htm , http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/KingListsMiddEast/SyriaBashan.htm, and https://www.britannica.com/place/Bashan 

Image from: https://www.wikiart.org/en/francisco-de-zurbaran/agnus-dei-1640 

For more on Zurbarán’s work Agnus Dei, visit The Prado site at: https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/agnus-dei/795b841a-ec81-4d10-bd8b-0c7a870e327b 

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Matthew 21:33-46: Cornerstone – Part III

Friday, March 3, 2017workers-vineyard

The Old Testament foreshadows the promise of redemption and the fulfillment of hope. The New Testament Jesus explains how loss is gain to his disciples and to us when he tells us the Parable of the Tenants in the Vineyard. When we spend time with this story, we see how God turns all hate into goodness, all harm into rejoicing, and all injustice to love.

God says: Sit with me and this story today. Read the words slowly and let them sink into your heart and mind. Repeat the verses until they become one with your sinew and bone. Share your reflection with me and ask me your questions. Share your doubts and fears, your anxieties and anger, your joy and thanksgiving. I am prepared to hear all you have to say about loss and gain, about rejection and praise. When you experience loss, remember this, the very foundation of my love for you stands on my understanding that you will reject me. But my love is greater than any negative thought or action directed at me. I have made you from my, for my love. When you are rejected, remember that I have been rejected too. When you believe yourself lost, you only need extend your hand to me to find all that you believe has vanished for it is in your emptiness that I fill you. It is in your loneliness that you feel my companionship most keenly. And it is in your dejection that you feel the strength of my cornerstone.

To read other translations of this parable, use the scripture link and drop-down menus to compare varying versions.

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John 14:1-14: Glory, Part III – Fear

Tuesday, July 21, 2015uppsala-sweden-psychology-study-erasing-fear

As we explore the mystery of Christ’s power found in humility, emptiness, and service, we continue with words recorded by John, The Beloved Apostle. John leaves this recording for us that we might discover Christ’s presence among us today, Christ’s glory that lives with us still.

Today’s lesson on Glory: There is nothing and no one that we need fear. Christ comes to us in the anxieties of our days and the terrors that come with the night.

In response to our distress, Jesus says: Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me . . . What you are going to do, do quickly”.

Rather than succumb to our fears, how different it is to open ourselves to them, knowing that God is present in our brokenhearted-ness, our poverty, abandonment, denial and betrayal. Jesus tells us: Where I am going, you will know the way.

When Thomas asks – as do we – We do not know where you are going; how can we know the way? Jesus answers: I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.

When Philip says – as do we: Show us the Father, and that we will be enough for us.

Jesus replies: Have I been with you for such a long time and still you do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.

When we question how we are to see God, Jesus tells us: Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you will ask in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.

We begin to understand the concept of God’s glory that arrives with the washing of our tired feet. We begin to see God in the disappointments and fears that life brings to us. We begin to comprehend that glory comes quietly when we do not expect it, when we are troubled and laden with worry and dread. This is the glory that Jesus offers us. The glory of a personal relationship with God. The glory of knowing Jesus so well that we call on his name when we make our requests. The glory of the Spirit that resides within.

In today’s Noontime we hear Jesus say to us, his disciples: Do not let your hearts be troubled . . . If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.

And so we pray,

Generous and gentle God, lift us out of our fears and worries. Hear our petitions that we offer in your name. Allay our distress, smooth our unease, and transform our terror with your loving kindness. We ask this in your name. Amen.  

Write out Jesus’ words on a slip of paper and leave it on our pillow. Tonight as we prepare for bed, let us make Jesus’ words part of our evening prayer.

Click on the image above to read about fear and the memory. 

Tomorrow, experiencing God’s glory in the Advocate. 

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water jarFriday, August 15, 2013

Jeremiah 14

Empty Jars

The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah concerning the great drought: The nobles send their servants for water, but when they come to the cisterns they find no water and return with empty jars.

Jeremiah portrays the Lord as am avenging God in this chapter, one who exacts heavy consequences for lapses and recalcitrance. Yahweh laments those slain by the sword and those consumed by hunger. In Jeremiah’s day, pagan people believed they created positive circumstances in their lives by placating little gods, and Yahweh’s faithful also look at their relationship with God in this strictly dual manner: those who obey will prosper and flourish while those who disobey are punished.

Ashamed, despairing, they cover their heads because of the stricken soil; because there is no rain in the land the farmers are ashamed, they cover their heads.

And so the people rail against their creator, asking for help and intercession.

Why are you like a man dumbfounded, a champion who cannot save? You are in our midst, O Lord, your name we bear: do not forsake us!

God says: I have never forsaken you. I am with you still. Did I not call you into being? Do I not call to you each morning, noon and night? Do I not abide with you even during those times when I see that I am completely forgotten by you? I understand the appeal of the world for it is my creation. I understand your need to feel comfortable and safe when dreadful circumstances surround you. Put away this fear and allow me to surround you with my love. Allow me to fill your dry cisterns and your empty jars for when I fill them . . . they will brim to overflowing. When I fill them, you will never perish of thirst. When I fill you . . . there is no need of well or vessel. I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and then end. I am the transformation and the resurrection. I am all you will ever need.

Spend a few minutes today giving thanks for . . .

The Living God who never abandons us even when we have turned away,

The Eternal God who sustains us even when we have gone astray,

The Wondrous God who loves us . . . beyond all measure and imagining.

To reflect again on how we might learn to trust that God in our midst, return to The Lord Surrounds Us post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2014/07/31/the-lord-surrounds-us/

To learn more about ancient water jars or hyriaiclick on the image above or go to: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/gkhy/hd_gkhy.htm

 

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