Grow Deep - The Gospel in Seven Words Edition Week 5

Week 5: April 3 - 9

The Gospel in Seven Words Edition

Jesus Refuses to Leave His People Alone!

 

Hymn Verse Abide with me, fast falls the eventide.
LW #490 vs.1,5

The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes,
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.


If you’ve ever spent time with a small child, you’ve probably witnessed it. A seemingly innocuous departure— a parent leaving the room to get a cup of water or complete some other mundane task— kindles a tidal wave of emotions. The wailing, tears and panic are aptly called separation anxiety. It’s heartbreaking both for parent and child.

When I went to college, I experienced my own “separation anxiety.” There was no wailing, but as my parents hugged me, said their goodbyes and headed down the highway, I anxiously sat in my dorm room thinking, “Now what?” I knew few people and had never been away from home for so long. Fast forward to sophomore year when my roommate married and moved in December. I was the loneliest I had ever been.

Within weeks, I knew I needed community, and I happily found it in a blossoming Lutheran student group. These peers welcomed me, laughed with me, ate with me, studied the Bible with me, prayed with me, served with me and even mourned with me. God’s fingerprints were all over these friendships when He saw my need and met me in my loneliness to remind me He was there.

Jesus was routinely present for people who had good reason to feel alone. They were the grieving, the discouraged, the disabled, the sick, the outcast. When Jesus physically left this world, He repeated what God has always promised: to be with us always.

We can experience this closeness in our prayers, Bible reading and worship. However, God knows that people crave a tangible presence, and that’s where our calling begins. We need to be present for lonely people, not to fix their situations or Band-Aid their emotions, but to reveal that Jesus is still near and cares for them deeply.


Wednesday, April 3
Read: Psalm 68:5-6
God seeks out those who are marginalized, discouraged or forgotten and provides for them in ways that meet their needs.
Reflect: How has God used you or how might God use you in the life of someone who needs to feel God’s presence?


Thursday, April 4

Read: Matthew 18:12
Even amongst billions of people on earth, none of us is “just a number” to God. In God’s eyes, each of us is worth going after.
Reflect: When has God sought you out when you have felt lost or alone? Share this experience with a family member or friend.


Friday, April 5

Read: Deuteronomy 31:8
Not only is the Lord with us at all times, but He also leads the way. No matter the circumstance, God’s unwavering presence can provide us comfort.
Reflect: What situations make you fearful or discouraged? How might recalling that God is with you affect your perspective in those situations?


Saturday, April 6

Read: Hebrews 13:5
With so many false sources of contentment grappling for our attention, it is easy to become discontented and forget how God’s constant presence should be the source of our contentment.
Reflect: Where do you find yourself seeking contentment beyond God? Why should God’s steadfastness bring contentment?


Sunday, April 7

Read: Ephesians 6:18
God gives us prayer as a direct connection to Him, and the Holy Spirit leads us to make requests. Not only can we pray for those in our immediate circle, but we can and should pray for all of God’s people.
Reflect: Paul strikingly uses the word “all” numerous times in this one verse. Which “all” needs greater attention in your prayers? For which lonely people might you pray?


Monday, April 8

Read: 1 Peter 5:7
God doesn’t ask us to pick and choose which worries to send His way. He loves us so much that He asks us to cast all of them on Him.
Reflect: Tell a friend about a time when you cast your anxiety on Jesus and how it felt to do it. If you struggle in this area, consider which anxiety right now you most need to cast on Jesus.


Tuesday, April 9

Matthew 28:20b
Jesus promises us that He is present not just at the end, but at all times!
Reflect: How is Jesus with you, personally, now? Speak these words of encouragement to a family member or friend.