“I Will Not Leave You Orphans”

One of my favorite scriptural passages is John 14:18 where the Lord Jesus Christ promised His disciples — and us — that He will not leave us as orphans. It gives much joy to my heart to hear such loving words from our Lord because there are times in our lives where we feel like we are being abandoned, rejected, ignored, or forgotten by the world — even those in the Church, too. To be honest, the hardest thing that we often do as human beings is trying to fit in and not be rejected. This is also the source of many hurts and the result of many lost souls, because many have let themselves be dictated by others, or forgotten who they truly are in order to be someone else they think would be accepted by the mass or whatever circles they want to belong.

When I was young, my mother would often threatened me, “I found you in the dump and will put you back there if you don’t listen to me!” I would be scared and listened to her right away with an fearful response, “No, mom! Not the dumpster!” However, that outgrew itself fast as I found ways to talk back to my mother… so she moved toward “whooping” as I got older up. Even though she did that to scared me, my own mother would often reminded my brother and I that, “Even a tiger will not eat its offsprings.” Indeed, she has always been a caring mother for me and my brother.

My mother and father never said the usual, “I love you,” or, “I’m proud of you,” like what I have seen in other parents, but I know that they care for me. Throughout my own life, my parents care for us beyond what words can express. Their actions in how they provided and sacrificed for us spoke louder than short-term sentimental, emotional, or Hollywood-like movies can ever captured!

My father is a retired mechanic, so every time I go home, he would check my vehicle to make sure nothing is wrong with it. My mother love to cook my favorite dishes when I go home, and it is a joy for her to see me enjoy them. My father does things behind the scene to make sure my room at the house is tidy and functional; as well as when I have technical difficulties, he would readily offer his help (because he is very good with hand-on matters). My mother calls me often to check up on me. She often asked me how well I sleep, what I eat, if I have any headaches from stress or allergies, and if my health is fine. These are the ordinary, seem to be insignificant, often forgotten, or not appreciated things that my parents do to show how much they love and care for me.

In similar — but much more providential and intimate — ways, God cares for our daily needs beyond our comprehension and understanding. He knows what we truly need and look out for us beyond our blind spots and short-sighted temptations. He loves us in ways beyond our imagination and our shallow desires for immediate gratification. He is misunderstood at times because we do not think that He loves us enough. We will think that He is unfair because He seems to “favor” others than us.

At times, we will be like the two sons in “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” in Luke 15:1-32. We will leave because we cannot stand living with Him anymore, thinking that we will get what we want if we have the freedom to do what we want as we like for ourselves. Or, we will simply stay close to Him but wrapped up in our own resentment because we think that we are not His favorites or that He does not care for us. It is, therefore, important to know that we will not always get what we want or think that we deserve but that does not mean that God hates us.

God loves us personally and as we are able to receive!

Thus, it is so crucial to understanding Who we belong to, Who loves us, and how much His love means for us. We all have to learn (and relearn) at times how to love Him and others by meeting them where they are instead of what they have to be for us! It does take a lot to walk with one another with patience and in charity. We are all reminded to focus on the quality of relationships and cultivate them instead of simply objectifying or quantifying things that need to happen just to make us happy.

Perhaps, the most important question would be, “Am I content with what is given to me or do I want more in order to make me personally satisfied?”

Indeed, the hardest part of our journey is to be content with what we have. What is much harder is to recognize how blessed and loved we are by God! When the Lord Jesus Christ was living here on earth among us, He was never alone because He was always in the Father and united with the Holy Spirit. Even throughout His Passion, when He was betrayed, abandoned, and rejected by the people and His own disciples, He was never alone because He knew the reason why He has to endure the pains and sufferings. Jesus was able to be faithful to His purpose and mission because He knew who He is.

That is why, before His Ascension, He promised His disciples that He will not abandon them and that they will never be not alone. He promised to send another Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to guide, sanctify, and bring into the fulfillment the works that He has begun in us. Hence, the third Person of the Trinity — the Holy Spirit — who is the love of the Father and Son helps us to realize what it means to be Christians, as disciples of Christ Jesus. Through His power and working, the Sanctifier helps us to transform, lift up our hearts, and become more Christlike everyday if we open our hearts up to His grace. The Holy Spirit changes those who seek to be like Christ each day in both words and actions. Through His sanctifying grace, we slowly grow, mature, become more holy and set apart, and faithful to our vocation and calling as sons and daughters of God, disciples of Christ, and instruments of peace and truth.

We are never alone because we are only one prayer away from being united to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Even if we do not know how to pray, the Spirit will lead and guide us so we can become more Christlike in calling out to God our Father, “Abba.” Hence, this is our mission and purpose as Christians, which is to embrace, endure, and live what Christ had taught and shown us with our very own life and deeds, words and actions. This is our greatest blessing… the source of peace, joy, and contentment that nothing in this world could ever offer for us!

Once we know how loved and blessed we are in God, we are called to become blessings for one another as well. Not in fancy or outrageous means, but through simple and heartfelt words and actions that give life to others! We often think that we need to be missionaries, have money, or possess this or that skill to be His messengers or be effective in preaching the Gospel… but that is not true! We can evangelize and preach louder than any eloquent words when we choose to conform our lives to His teachings and commandments as to give, serve, and love one another as He loves us.

Let us remember that in times past when we asked where was God‘s blessings when we needed them the most, perhaps the most important answer already lies with us, for we are called to be blessings — received and shared — for one another. In times past when we thought we could not go on and were about to give up, it was someone’s prayers (offered for those who are about to give hope, in need, or have no one to pray for them) lifted us up. If we have been blessed and supported by the prayers of those who lifted us up in times of need, we are called to pray and support those who are in need as well. Just as we are in communion with God in our life of faith, we are called to be in communion with one another in real, tangible, personal, and intimate ways through prayers, words, deeds, and self-giving love and actions.

Therefore, let us remember the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ that we are not orphans, for we are not alone. He will never abandon us, even in our hardest trials! Through the power and working of the Holy Spirit, may we become more Christlike in our words and actions as to give ourselves, share our gifts, and serve those who are seeking Him. May we also recognize the beautiful, unpretentious, and loving care of God who embraces, leads, and guides us in ways that we cannot comprehend at the moment so we can humbly trust, give ourselves, and open our hearts up to His works in us. May the love of God changes you and I so we can, in turn, become life-giving love for others.