“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” (Matt 5:4, MSG)
Last year I truly experienced what is known as the “empty-nest syndrome”. For the first time of my life, both of my sons left home to either attend university or seminary, and my youngest one decided to attend a seminary on the other side of our huge country. Gone were the days of seeing his ready smile. Now I would only get to see him for a few days every year.
As this was his first solo flight into no-man’s land, my wife decided to accompany him. Now I completely supported this idea; still, I found myself completely alone at home. The “empty-nest syndrome” became way too vivid, and it didn’t take me long to fall into self-pity.
Still, during this time of duress and loneliness, my Heavenly Dad came through big time. I remember one afternoon, just when I was completely demoralized, I looked through my bedroom window and was greeted by a smiling cloud.
A smiling cloud???
I couldn’t believe my eyes! I had never seen such a thing before, and deep down, I felt my Dad’s presence, reassuring me with this “smile”, hand-crafted by Him for me alone, that He was with me.
Wow! I found myself filled with adrenaline, and rushing downstairs, I took a couple pictures of the cloud. After all, no one would believe what I had experienced! I eventually enlarged one of the pictures, and it now hangs in my living room. Whenever I feel I am down for some reason, I look at it and I cannot help but smile, for my Father is with me.
And God didn’t stop by only blessing me with a smiling cloud. On my daily 4K walk, I met people who not only nodded at me as usual, but also smiled brightly at me. Not one or two, but many of them. It’s as if they knew what I was going through and were there to brighten my day. We have no idea how powerful smiles truly are. These filled me with hope and love, for I knew my Heavenly Dad was making this possible.
Some of those people I met were some Mennonite friends. I used to teach their daughter, and I always feel so encouraged when I meet a former student of mine who has developed a worthwhile goal in life. It filled my heart with joy for the remainder of the day.
That same weekend, my oldest son came home for a camping experience with his dad. It was so special that the next year we did another camping experience together.
My Father in Heaven came through big time in my time of need. I may have been completely alone at home, but God’s presence was palpable.
Jesus could vouch for this when He said: “You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” (John 16:32b, NIV2)
We are never alone. Dad is always with us. It is our preoccupations, our lengthy to-do-lists, and our seemingly-endless responsibilities that make it so that we have no time to realize that we are not alone. Reality is, our Dad is constantly with us.
When, for some reason, we find ourselves all alone, devoid of friends and family, we need to stand still and perceive His presence. Our Dad is truly with us!
One elderly lady at our church said once: “Out of the valley, up to the mountain top with God. I choose joy over grief. God is my husband!” That lady had just lost her dear husband 5 months earlier.
God loves us so much that whenever we feel completely down, He embraces us tenderly, appeasing our tears with His tenderness, while His voice gently urges us to trust that He will always be there for us. Especially when we find ourselves lonely, away from all loved ones! It is during those times that He shines through even more brightly!
Anticipate experiencing God fully. This will fill you with adrenaline and give you something to look forward to!
(To access the entire “Majestic Mountain View” devotional series, please click here.)