Absence Makes...

“Absence makes . . . “

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” we say.  Really?  Where did that come from?  With just a little research I discovered that it was first noted in 1602 in a less direct way.  But, “. . . many believe that it was Thomas Haynes Bayly who brought the notion to life in his poem titled Isle of Beauty which appeared in his two-volume work Songs, Ballads, and Other Poems in 1844.  He wrote:                                                             ‘What would not I give to wander
Where my old companions dwell?
Absence makes the heart grow fonder;
Isle of Beauty, fare thee well!’                                                                                         (Your Dictionary)

After Jesus’ resurrection, His appearances were unexpected and seemingly rare.  There were 40 days between His resurrection and His ascension and only a few appearances are recorded in Scripture.  Perhaps there were more, but we don’t know.  As I have been saying, we know very little about the disciples’ activities during those 40 days.  I think I would be safe in suggesting that they stayed rather close to one another – sometimes fishing, perhaps at other times reminiscing - if for no other reason, than out of a 3-year habit formed as they followed Jesus.  Good habits are good!  I would assume that they spent some time trying to make sense of His last words to them and the most recent conversations after His resurrection.  I am sure they talked openly about His questions to Peter and whether he really loved Jesus.  

I’m just thinking out loud again . . . what if they kept leaning into the hope of Jesus’ promise in John 14:16-18:  “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you”  “I will not leave you . . . .”  Suppose that during the times of His “absence” they kept reassuring one another by saying, “He promised the He would ‘not leave’ us and that He would ‘come to’ us?”  One of Jesus’ followers later wrote, “. . . He Himself has said, ‘I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,’ so that we confidently say, ‘THE LORD IS  MY HELPEER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID.’” (Hebrews 13:5-6)   Well . . . .

As a part of my daily prayer time, my personal time to worship the Lord and to align my will with His, consists of these verses from Lamentations 3:21-24:                                “Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:                                                                                         22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
    for His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “’The LORD is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for Him.’”
I have decided to believe that the disciples spent a lot of time saying something like this, “. . . I have hope:  The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”
We should never again struggle as if He is absent!!  He has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”

So, we be saying:  “I have hope . . . The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”  Here’s an old chorus we used to sing (Haldor Lillenas – 1928):
How can I be lonely when I've Jesus only
To be my companion and unfailing guide?
Why should I be weary, or my path seem dreary,
When He's walking by my side?

Never alone . . . on the journey . . .

Pastor J K

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