I Will Not Leave You

I Will Not Leave You

Key Texts: John 14:18-31

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.  Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.

They were poignant words, spoken when their need was great.

They could not fully understand what was about to happen, though He had tried to explain again and again.  He had opened the Scriptures to them; spoken in parables; spoken at other times quite plainly, and still they couldn’t fully comprehend what was to happen.

Still, what mattered were his comforting words of farewell:

“I will not leave you are orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.  Because I live, you also will live.”

That, in a nutshell, is the Christian gospel.

“Because I live, you also will live.”

Are there complex, theological issues to ponder?  Yes.

Do all Christians agree on the meaning of Christ’s teaching; the impact of His life?  No.

Nevertheless, the words live on and they still bring comfort and peace that “passeth all understanding.”

In the face of great conflict, great struggle, even death itself the words and the promise remain:

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.  Because I live, you also will live.”

At the time, they could barely comprehend the meaning of those words.

At times, we can’t either, but it doesn’t make them any less true.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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