In 1938, Admiral Richard E. Byrd wintered at the South Pole. He chronicled his four-month adventure in a book he tellingly titled Alone!
We can scarcely imagine the pain that experience must have involved. While the din of everyday life sometimes threatens to drive us to distraction, few of us would willingly choose months and months of solitude—solitude uninterrupted by a human voice, a human touch.
If everyday life calls for companionship, even more do we treasure companionship in times of hardship, challenge, or distress. It’s a truism: no army trains its soldiers to dig foxholes for one.
Spiritual warfare, likewise, calls for companionship. And as we serve our Savior, we have it—the companionship of Christ. That companionship comforts us and shapes us to serve with love, even in difficult times.
Joshua took up his responsibilities, comforted by this explicit promise from the LORD:
As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5
One of the names Scripture assigns our Savior is Immanuel, “God with us.” How good to know the compassionate companionship of Christ as we walk through life day by day. How good to experience it as we serve God’s people—especially as we serve God’s people!
While we pray and work for peace in our family of faith, it’s no secret that bickering, pettiness, and hurts happen in God’s family. The New Testament has made some early church fights famous. We ourselves have, no doubt, added to that sad history in our own day.
Here again, how good to know “God with us” in our Savior. The sins of his children did not take our Father by surprise. He sent his Son for the precise purpose of suffering for those sins. Not satisfied simply to empathize, Jesus died in our place—even for the sins by which we have hurt our brothers and sisters, even for the sins by which they have hurt us.
Now, risen from death never to die again, Immanuel will never leave us or forsake us. He will always hear and help us, especially when we struggle in our service.
We are not alone. Not ever.