As many of you know, I have been grieving the death of my 12 year old dog and my grandfather for the past 2 weeks. Less than a year ago, I also grieved the loss of my other grandfather. This past year has had many stressors.... both negative and positive, and I have been truly crushed under the weight of it all these past 2 weeks. I might not show it all the time, but my family surely has seen the toll it has taken on me.
This morning I was soaking to a worship set at IHOP from a few days ago. Matt Gilman was singing the song "Draw me close" and I was pleading with Jesus to "Help me know you are near".
While I always "know" he is near.... I just wasn't feeling Him... I was feeling alone, discouraged, exhausted in grief. I was feeling worn down, "limp", withdrawn, feeble, and lazy. I've BEEN feeling all those things since Lucky got sick.
I've had moments where I "knew" Jesus was with me in my sorrow.... but it wasn't changing the fact that I still FELT all those things.
As I sang... "Help me know YOU are near".... I heard the gentle whisper in my soul of "I will never leave you nor forsake you".
I continued to worship for a little while, and then went to my Bible and looked up that verse. I found it in Deuteronomy 31 vs 6 and vs 8.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will ever leave you nor forsake you."
"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged"
The Lord seemed to be making me focus on the word "leave" in these verses. So, I looked them up in my concordance. There are many Hebrew and Greek words used for the word "leave" throughout the Bible. But only 3 times does this particular word for leave show up. All 3 times, it is used in the sentence "will never leave you nor forsake you". This word in Hebrew is rapa.
Rapa first and foremost means
- to hang limp,
- sink down,
- be feeble;
- to be lazy,
- to lower;
and then it is used to mean:
- "leave alone, abandon, withdraw".
When I read this, I was washed over with comfort as the Lord said to me
"I will never hang limp, sink down, be feeble, be lazy, lower you or discourage you; leave, abandon or withdraw from you..... even when you are feeling all of those things!!!"
It was like a huge relief to know that while I am weak... He is strong! His promises not only revive me, but they also give me permission to REST in Him!!! I can "go limp" in His arms and know without a doubt that He will NEVER rapa me! :)