When I was young a missionary friend liked to sing EC Heidelberg’s gospel song about us never being alone.
“Never alone, because I know My Lord is with me, he’s always by my side.”
While religious sentiments can often become mere sentimental thoughts, let’s take a moment to dig into the truth of Heidelberg’s song.
God repeatedly promised He would never leave or abandon His people.
“Let your life be without covetousness, being satisfied with what you have; for God Himself has said: “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
“The Lord Himself goes before you; He will be with you. He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
“The Lord your God is a merciful God; He will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers, which He swore to them by oath.” Deuteronomy 4:31
“Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or terrified of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
So the nice religious sentiment that God is always with us is a truth we can rely on firmly.
Jesus promised His disciples that He would make his abode with them.
“Jesus answered and said to him, If a man loves me he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our abode with him.” John 14:23
God’s presence with us is an abiding presence, in that it continues uninterrupted, but also because he abides or resides with us. This is why the Bible talks about Christ being in us.
“God chose to make known to them how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27
“But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet the Spirit gives you life because of righteousness.” Romans 8:10
As a believer in Christ you have Christ in you and you have God’s personal promise to never leave you or forsake you. However you may find that you are not always conscious of God’s presence or Christ within.
Your feelings do not control reality. Your feelings will go this way and that, often without regard for truth. You may at times feel ‘alone’, abandoned and unsupported. But that is just an emotional state.
Your feelings are your servants, in the same way your muscles are. Your body might complain about a physical challenge you want it to endure, but your will has power over what you do, even if your muscles and limbs complain about what you ask of them.
Similarly your emotions are just one of the faculties of your human existence. They don’t have the right to control your will or to determine what is true.
You have every right to refuse to listen to your emotions and to direct them to line up with what you know to be true.
You can say to your feelings, “I know you are feeling down and isolated, but the truth is that Christ lives within me and He is present in this situation and pouring His love and comfort on me. I choose to tune in to God’s presence and Christ’s ministry within, and I choose to reject the negative feelings.”
The Lord, Who is your shepherd, is with you when you are beside the still waters and when you are in the valley of the shadow of death. The presence of the Lord does not change as your situation changes. If you are ruled by your feelings and rely on what you sense to determine what is true, then you are like a child who will be fickle and unstable.
As a mature son of God you will let the Holy Spirit and God’s truth guide you, putting down your feelings, in the same way you can refuse to obey the complaints of sore muscles.
And because God is with you and Christ is in you, you have the presence of God in every situation through the day.
Some Christians form the habit of feeling spiritual on Sundays at church, but feeling secular and apart from God the rest of the time. That’s why some Christians can’t wait to get back to a church meeting to recharge their batteries and feel secure. They can only practice the presence of Jesus when surrounded by stained glass windows, or listening to Christian music, or surrounded by fellow believers.
All of those supports can be valuable, but the depth of our walk with God is more measured by how we hold up when we are unsupported externally. Drawing on the internal reality of an abiding God and indwelling Christ will make us much stronger than those who need a regular Christian ‘fix’ to keep them going.
Now, I am not saying you should be independent of Christian fellowship since we are told not to abandon regular fellowship with fellow Christians.
“Let us not neglect meeting together with believers, as some do, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25
What I am saying is that there is a maturity and depth in our spiritual walk as we come to know with assurance that God will never leave us or forsake us, and that in every situation, good and horrible, the Lord is with us and we can find comfort and security in Him.
That’s probably what the missionary had in mind when he sang that song ‘Never Alone’. He was going into places filled with darkness and evil, to face deprivations and dangers most of us would shun. He kept reminding himself that in every situation he would never be alone for Christ is with him.
The same is true for you: at work, study, shopping, family gatherings, in court, in heavy business negotiations, in buying a car or selling products, in sickness and in health, at home or in unfamiliar territory, among friends or facing enemies, on your best day and in your most traumatic situations.
You have a privilege many others never experience. You never have to go it alone, but you can step out on your own, knowing you are not really alone, and take on challenges others would shun, because they would be truly alone.
May the Lord encourage your heart with the heart-felt realisation of the permanent presence of the Lord in your life, in every moment and situation. May you know in the depth of your being that you are and always will be ‘Never Alone’.