Then when the man, with his concubine and his servant, got up to leave, his father-in-law, the woman’s father, said, “Now look, it’s almost evening. Spend the night here; the day is nearly over. Stay and enjoy yourself. Early tomorrow morning you can get up and be on your way home.” But, unwilling to stay another night, the man left and went toward Jebus (that is, Jerusalem), with his two saddled donkeys and his concubine.
When they were near Jebus and the day was almost gone, the servant said to his master, “Come, let’s stop at this city of the Jebusites and spend the night.”
His master replied, “No. We won’t go into any city whose people are not Israelites. We will go on to Gibeah.” He added, “Come, let’s try to reach Gibeah or Ramah and spend the night in one of those places.” So they went on, and the sun set as they neared Gibeah in Benjamin.
- Judges 19:9-14
“Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
- John 16:31-32
Before I get to the question above, the first Scripture speaks of a Levite that was travelling with his concubine. She was a slave, but he treated her like his wife. They went to Gibeah and slept in the city center until an old man offered space in his home. The drunken people of the village wanted the old man to give them the Levite in order to have sex. The old man refused to allow them to do such an abominable thing to a Levite, of all things. When they threatened to carry out their desires by force, the old man offered them the concubine. She was raped all night long and although she got back inside before dawn on her own power, she died there. The Levite took her to his home, cut her body into twelve parts and sent those parts to each of the tribes. This bizarre tale led to the Benjamites being marked for extinction with 25,000 being killed in one battle, but, in a strange manner, 400 virgins were taken to become brides for the small remnant of Benjamites that remained, so that the tribe would not completely disappear. Note that later on, King Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin.
The other Scripture is a reminder to us all that God never leaves us or forsakes us.
The other day, I started down the stairs into the basement while my wife was fixing something for herself for breakfast. She said, “Are you leaving me again?”
I snickered a bit. When I first “retired” my wife worried that I would be underfoot and cause trouble. Then here health problems started, open-heart surgery and kidney failure. She has been too tired to supervise as I do the housework and then escape to do some writing when I can. She has been in the basement where we have our laundry room, once or twice since she had open-heart surgery three years ago. When I started writing, I thought she would love the fact that I was out of her hair, but with her inactivity, my writing must be set aside sometimes to just do something silly so that she can get out of the house.
It was not always that way. We would joke about how we only celebrated one wedding anniversary in the first ten years of marriage. I worked strike duty our second anniversary, home briefly only to sleep, and military maneuvers for the next three years, one of those being one of those times when I left for work and did not come home (secret mission) and of course no one would tell her where I was or even IF I still was. Then business trips when 90 percent of the year I was home. Why that week? I will never know other than to give us something to laugh about.
When I left my wife behind, twice, during the army years – initial report for duty and reassignment after returning from Germany – that seemed to be the biggest blow. Each time we had a child near one year old and I had orders to be somewhere else, and I needed to get there and set up housing before she could join me. At least the trip to Germany was prearranged with borrowed furniture. Our only problem was the lack of a baby bed, but in placing a mattress on the floor and waking up several times in the night when our son rolled off and bumped his head on the hardwood floors, he had learned how to sleep on a regular mattress before the baby bed was available.
While I sobbed each time I left them, I was far enough away from the family for them not to see. It was my wife’s turn with the job that I had for nearly twenty years at the end of my career. She knew well in advance where I was going and for how long, except once. One trip to Thailand was an open-ended trip. We were there until the job was finished, however long it took, but we estimated about three months. Six weeks later, the SE Asia economy got so bad that the place where we worked went bankrupt, and we were sent home, since they could no longer pay us. We went home, finished the work from there, and applied for federal relief due to economic hardship and unpaid invoices.
And really, that six-week stretch was the longest trip. The next longest was exactly one month. Most of the trips were between one week and two weeks. I often was asked, “Are you leaving me again?”
If the trip was a fairly short distance, my wife accompanied me. The only time that she flew with me was a trip to Seattle. We took an extra two days and visited where we had lived in West Richland, WA before we moved to Pennsylvania. We took in Leavenworth, WA and we saw a few waterfalls. I even went to one of my favorite used bookstores in Kennewick, WA.
“Are you leaving me again?”
Yes, I was going to the basement to write, and, now, I had a new topic to write about.
There is One who will never leave us or forsake us. Jesus comes to stay once we accept Him into our hearts. When those who are near us travel away for a time, we are never alone when God is within us. My wife realized that fact when we were on a business trip to northern Indiana. While I was at work, she was sick in the hotel. She prayed that she would not die, alone, in her hotel room. She really was not that sick, but you know what it is like when you feel like you are THAT sick. She had a vision of her death and her guardian angel showed her and assured her that he was going to walk with her to Heaven, but that would be a different time, not then. She has been on fire for Jesus ever since.
When the fog cleared and she looked at the clock next to the bed that fateful day in Indiana, it was 3:16. It took her a long time to relate that to John 3:16. Since then, she has often awakened in the night to go to the bathroom, and she has seen that the time was 3:16. God wants her to know that she is not alone.
None of us are alone if we have God in our heart. If we reject God, we can easily be alone in a room full of people. Who among the crowd will come to your aid? God will. God does. He is faithful to His own. All you must do is believe and trust in Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.