September 25, 2014 • By Ed Wrather
Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” - John 16:31-33 NKJV.
I had probably only been a Probation and Parole Officer for about a month when I was assigned a pre-sentence investigation of a murderer. The interview took place in an old county jail, in a windowless room, with a small wooden table in the middle. I was somewhat surprised when the murderer was led into the room without restraints and was seated across from me at the table within arm reach. I was told to knock on the door or yell when finished with the interview. I was then locked inside of the small room with the murderer.
Having worked in the oilfield supervising crews of men I had worked with several who had been in prison on a variety of offenses ranging from drugs to bank robbery. This, however, was a first; alone, locked in a room with an unrestrained murderer who was much larger than me. The situation was uncomfortable and unnerving. I did have an out though if I needed help I could yell and hope they could hear me through the wall. Since that time in many other jails and prisons I never again had to interview a prisoner who was unrestrained or that I was not separated from by bars or glass. I do still remember that interview, and the feeling I had of being so alone with the threat of danger being so close.
My exposure to the threat of danger when I interviewed the murderer was very small compared to what millions of others have faced. The Book of Daniel provides us with two extreme examples, with the fiery furnace and the lion’s den. After Daniel had spent the night down in a hole with the lions, the king asked Daniel if the God he served had been able to save him. Daniel responded by saying, “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me…(Daniel 6:22a).” Because Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not worship the golden image they were placed in a fiery furnace heated seven times hotter than usual. To the king’s surprise the three men not only survived, but the men were not alone in the furnace. The King said of this amazing sight, “Behold, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt! And the form of the fourth is like a son of the gods (Daniel 6:25)!”
Once we know Jesus as our Savior, we are never really alone. Proverbs 18:24b says “…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” We are told how close that friend sticks with us in 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Living inside of every believer is the Holy Spirit! The importance of this is seen in Hebrews 2:18 NKJV, which says, “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” The Amplified Bible translates Hebrews 2:18 in this way, “For because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted (tested and tried), He is able [immediately] to run to the cry of (assist, relieve) those who are being tempted and tested and tried [and who therefore are being exposed to suffering].” When you cry out for God to help you, He will “run to the cry.” How far does He have to run since He lives within you? Not far at all!
Jesus knew there was a time coming when His disciples would run for the hills and He would be alone. Jesus also knew that He would not really be alone because as Jesus says, “the Father is with Me.” If you know Jesus as your Savior, you are never really alone, just as Jesus was not alone. Your “friend who sticks closer than a brother” will run to help when you cry out for Him. You are not alone!