The Journey of Life


I have been considering those of us who have experienced desertion. Perhaps it is a close friend or friends who have walked away and turned their backs on us. Or perhaps a spouse who has, without warning, walked out on your marriage.

The initial shock and pain is, of course, at its most intense in the moment. But my thoughts today are with those a bit further down the road – those who, having done all in their power to see a restoration of the relationship, have failed and still feel the hidden pain rise again to the surface at the mention of a name or place. You see no hope of resolution and are coming to the conclusion you never will. Things will never be the same – and the pain is becoming a permanent part of who you are.

I have been reading recently of the restoration of Peter after he so spectacular deserted Jesus. It is a wonderful story of hope. And yet for the one sheep who was Pater – there are ninety nine others who, as far as we know, were never restored. It is John who records of Jesus, after a certain teaching – “At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.” John 6:66 [NLT]. And there is no evidence that their relationship with Jesus was ever restored. Can we doubt that on a human level such desertion must have caused Jesus great pain.

One of the human reactions to desertion is to seek some kind of retribution – and if not retribution then justification in that we are not seen as the one to blame. But none of these – even if obtained in some way, can ever take away the pain. So what are we to do as we suffer unjustly?

The only hope I can offer is to take you by the hand and stand with you once more at the foot of the cross. As we gaze upon the crucified One we see afresh the greatest vision of unjust suffering – the one who lays down his life, not only for his friends – but also his enemies and can even cry – “Father forgive”. This Jesus, deserted, not only by many of his followers but also most of his intimate friends becomes our only hope. As we, with Him, extend forgiveness towards those who have deserted and hurt us we, in a very small way, become one with him in his suffering. And it is as we commit ourselves to The Deserted One that we are given the grace and strength, in our pain, to face each new day with renewed hope.

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  • Reply
    Penny McPherson
    December 2, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Amen Steve, enlightenment through truth. I have a testimony that bears witness to this. I have no memory of my father’s presence in my childhood – he abandoned my mother, my brother and I when I was 3 years old – went out one day and never returned. I met him again when I was 16 and had a patchy, spasmodic and pretty meaningless relationship with him for most of my life until last two years ago. His abandonment of me scarred me very deeply, perhaps increasingly as the years progressed and I ‘understood’ what he had done. Feelings of worthlessness blighted my life.
    About two years ago I had a terrible nightmare where I was looking at a beautiful photograph I have of my youngest daughter. There had been a family disaster of epic proportions three years previously, one of the painful result being a completely broken relationship with my girl despite my deepest desire for healing. In the nightmare her face in the photograph began to change, becoming increasingly scarred and twisted, contorted by violence and hatred. it was horrifying. In the nightmare I turned to my eldest daughter and cried out ‘What is happening?’ to which she replied that it was my doing, my fault, that she was like this because I was her mother. I woke up crying and very distressed, praying ‘Jesus is Lord’ repeatedly. Graham comforted me, not really knowing what I had seen, and after a while I calmed a little. I felt very distraught and remained up stairs praying to God, asking for forgiveness and feeling my heart break over the love I had for my daughter which seemed ruined by circumstances beyond my control, beyond anyone’s control. Suddenly I started to realise that my father had felt the same – that this dreadful feeling of helplessness and unworthiness was a lie and that the devil would have me bound in distress, regret and hurt. I straightaway wrote my father a massive letter explaining the nightmare and the revelation I had had. I knew then the power of forgiveness, forgiveness through the love of Jesus and not of ourselves. Abandonment or desertion leaves the one left behind so vulnerable, defenceless it would seem to fight of feelings of despair, hurt, anger and deep worthlessness. But what the devil meant for harm the Lord CAN and WILL turn to good.
    My father telephoned me the day he received the letter and told me there had not been a day gone by that he had not regretted what he had done but felt powerless to put right and unable to say sorry for because it was such a massive wrong against a child. He told me he loved me. Whilst nothing could restore the lost years or create the feelings of having a caring father throughout childhood, a feeling I can only half imagine, there was such peace from that opened door of forgiveness. I am utterly blessed to say also that my relationship with my youngest daughter has been healed and is in a new and brighter place – the water has flowed under the bridge and out to sea.
    Our God is an awesome God and NOTHING is impossible with Him, NOTHING!

  • Reply
    December 2, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story Penny …

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