Thursday, September 19, 2013

Abandonment, BIG TIME

One of the things about living cross culturally is that it's not easy to keep up with what's going on in my passport country.

I may hear bits and pieces of happenings here or there, but the stories often remain incomplete. 

Maybe it's the distance, the time zone difference, or the daily focus of my life that makes it hard to stay current. Whatever the cause it's a reality for me.

It's not something to complain about as far as I'm concerned, not in my case anyway. The news often disturbs my soul. To be honest, it was enough for me to hear about the 11 September 2012 attack without dwelling on all the surrounding details.

I was kept awake at night with thoughts of the brave and patriotic men who gave their lives in their duty to defend Americans under attack in Libya. 

My mind kept trying to take in the concept that a nation would abandon those they'd sent to serve at a diplomatic mission. 

I was haunted by even the possibility that a Commander-in-Chief could have been well aware of the threat and level of force and would order the troops under his command not to defend American lives. 

What must it have felt like to have been ABANDONED in the midst of a lethal firefight? 

Some of my life experiences gave me a bit of understanding in that realm. I bear the scars of being abandoned in various ways and times throughout my life. There are all kinds of reasons why people aren't there for us when we need them; in small and large ways, whether or not expected, with or without apologies.

But before I went too far down that empty road to nowhere the Holy Spirit brought the Truth to bear on my rambling thoughts.

The first whisper came through some of the final words of Moses. God inspired the message Joshua was to hear as Moses prepared him to receive the baton of leadership.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."  Deuteronomy 31:6

The message is so crucial as the Israelites were about to cross the river into enemy territory that God has Moses repeat its core two verses later.

"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged."  
Deuteronomy 31:8

In case Joshua wasn't sure about the reliability of the words Moses delivered God Himself proclaims the same assurance directly to him in His first recorded directions for Joshua as the new leader of His chosen people.

"No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you."  
Joshua 1:5

Lest we modern folk might come to think that those divine words were for only the one time in history, the Father saw fit to convey the same message hundreds of years later as confirmation of His ongoing commitment. 

The God of heaven and earth, the Alpha and the Omega, directed the author of Hebrews to record the promise of His loving presence with Abraham's posterity. 

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 
'Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.'"  Hebrews 13:5

Most days I am aware that I am in the midst of a lethal firefight. The battlefield is spiritual and the cost is blood. 

I don't know, as US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Information Management Officer Sean Smith, US Security Officers and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty did not, when my final firefight will unfold. 

BUT one thing I do know. 

I may be ABANDONED by a nation or a Commander-in-Chief.

I will never be ABANDONED by the One who holds my life in His hands.


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