As a baby I was left by my biological father. As a child I was left by my adopted father. As a teenager I was left by my step-father. As a woman I was left again by my adopted dad as he went Home to Jesus. As a mom I see the leaving in the growing of my near men children. As a wife in nearly impossible seasons of marriage I have felt the leaving potential of my husband and have sought the leaving even myself. Being left is not new to me, nor is it likely new to you, dear reader. And being left is so hard.
We have all been left. Whether we had to say a final good bye as a loved one went Home, or as a child moved away or as a spouse walked out. Being the one that is left often fills us with grieve and sadness. We are often left wondering what to do in this place we are left. The empty house, empty relationship, empty room.
Yet we see an encouragement for all the leaving in the word of God. Titus, Paul’s mentee, knows the loss of being the one left. He was left in Crete by his wise mentor. The godly convert and young man was left in a place of excess and lavish indulgences and defiance. Paul tells Titus, “this is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remains in order and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.”
He is given a purpose and assignment for being left. You were left to act on what you have been taught, Titus.
This gave me pause. Could it be that in our own “left-ness” there is purpose and assignment? Are you and I left at times fully known to and by God because there is purpose for us there, an assignment for us right in that left-ness?
In Acts Paul preaches to the men of Athens with this truth,
“[God] made from one man every nation of mankind
to live on all the face of the earth,
having determined allotted periods
and boundaries of their dwelling place,
that they should seek God,
and perhaps feel their way towards Him and find Him.
Yet He is actually not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27).
Paul teaches us that God placed us, each one, in a specific place to live during a specific time period, left right here where we are for a clear purpose. God left you in your place and left me in my place so that we would seek God right here, so that we would feel our way towards God right here and we would find Him right here.
Every place we feel we are left, physically or emotionally, is a place where God has appointed us to seek Him out so we would find Him and know He is not far from us.
Right there in that loss, grief, pain, hardship, empty house, empty relationship, that is a place where you and I can seek and find a very near God, a God who never leaves us or forsakes us.
“For my father and mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in,” the psalmist promises in Psalm 27:10. People will leave us and we will be left. It will not be easy as change and loss never is. But right there in that feeling of being left, we have purpose and assignment. Seek God, feel your way towards him and you will find Him because He is not far from you.
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