Not Alone

Key Text: John 16:7

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

There is great irony here.  Jesus was leaving His disciples – in the most painful of ways – via His own death.  Yet he insisted on telling them, though they could hardly understand, that it was for their own good that He was going away.

Even more, this was the way that, in due time, someone that He called “the Advocate” would come to them – the Holy Spirit – and through the Spirit they would do “even greater things” than He had done among them.

I am sure this stunned and confused them.

After all, how could renewed life come from death?  How could hope, and guidance, and the fulfilling of their destiny in the kingdom come from His sacrificial death on a Roman cross?

Yet that was His promise and deep in their hearts and minds they knew He always kept His promises.

So, they stepped forward in faith.  What else could they do?

Two thousand years later, Christians all around the world, proclaim that it was all true.

We are not alone.  We are never alone.

The “Advocate” – the Holy Spirit – indwells and guides the faithful in all they do.

The kingdom continues to come, just as promised.

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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