Recently, while walking in the hallway of our apartment building, a widow had displayed outside her apartment a plaque which read, “God has not forgotten you.”  It caught my attention.  My wife and I continually ask the Lord for grace to be light for Jesus in our apartment building.  Among the many issues we sense among seniors is loneliness, especially those who have lost their mates.  As I walk by the various apartments, I often pray for the Lord’s presence to be with those who live there.

In our community of seniors, we live with the ever present reality of “nearing the eternal shore.”  We talk about “Jesus coming” not only in  his second coming, but also of his taking us home.  When people feel isolated , forgotten by their loved ones, a sense of abandonment can invade their hearts. It can cause doubt about God’s loving presence. They need to be encouraged that “Jesus will carry them” home as they near their final home.

At  our Thursday bible study, I shared the words from the plaque Miriam had on display, along with the following passage from Isaiah 49:15-16, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”  

The NET bible makes this comment about the passage.  “The Lord has an innate attachment to Zion, just like a mother does for her infant child.  But even if mothers were to suddenly abandon their children, the Lord would never forsake Zion.  In other words, the Lord’s attachment to Zion is like a mother’s attachment to her infant child, but even stronger.”  

Men, I don’t know where you are on your journey.  You could be experiencing loneliness, feeling forsaken, living in a disconnected culture without nurturing human relationships, not having a sense of belonging.  Jesus calls us a “little flock.”  He is aware of our vulnerable. But he promises his presence (the kingdom).  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).  He knows our sense of being forsaken in this confused world causing us to wonder if anyone cares.  The Psalmist declared, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Ps 27:10)

Men, there will be times when you will feel abandoned on your journey.  Here is a wonderful promise from Isaiah. “When you go though rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.  When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” (Is. 43:2).  The Application Bible has this note, “If you try to make it with your own strength, you will likely drown.  If you invite the Lord go with you, he will be in the river with You and teach you how to navigate the treacherous waters”

My encouragement is to keep your eyes on Jesus and let him carry you.  The psalmist describes the journey in these words.   “Happy are the people whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a source of spring water; even the autumn rain will cover it with blessings”(Ps 84:5-6 CSB).   

We grow stronger when the journey is intently toward Jesus, even though we must pass through “the valley of affliction” (NET).  “The joyful tears of the pilgrims transformed the source of sadness and grief into a spring of blessing” (CSB Study Bible).