Standing Never Alone

“Ed” was part of an executive team engaging in an off-site strategic planning retreat. To facilitate the session, his company had hired “Mary,” nationally known for her analytic expertise but new to leadership consulting, and it showed. After hours of ideation, discussion and debate, the walls were covered with poster-size sheets capturing the group’s collective thoughts. “If you are in agreement with this vision,” Mary challenged, “please stand up.” One-by-one, the officers rose from their seats until only two people remained seated, including Ed, who could only imagine what his peers were thinking about him. When Mary asked him to explain to the group why he could not support the vision, Ed replied, “There is no vision. We’ve developed all sorts of good input from which we can draft a vision statement, but so far we have none.” A moment of awkward silence engulfed the room while everyone grasped what now had become glaringly obvious—there was nothing for them to support! One-by-one, the officers sat down.

Once after Jesus had spoken to a crowd, “many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”1 He had spoken some difficult truths, too difficult for many to accept. Turning to His closest friends, Jesus asked them, “You do not want to leave too, do you?”2 It was Peter who answered for the group, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”3 Despite the actions of the crowd, Peter and the Twelve stood alone in Him who in His very being is truth and life. Yet there was also a time when Peter was the one influenced by the “legalistic” crowd, and it was Paul the lone voice in the room reminding Peter before them all, “a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.”4

At times we are easily swayed from what is real to what is comfortable. Perhaps we capitulate to ill-footed reason, offer feelings more credence than facts, or ride the comfortable current of popular opinion. Whatever form it takes, acquiescence to falsehood is far too easy for us and far too dangerous. How much better when tempted like this that we stand—alone if we must—as Paul did. “At my first defense,” he wrote to Timothy, “no one came to my support . . . But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.”5 For the truth of the matter is this: whenever we stand alone in Christ, we don’t stand alone at all.

“I am with you always, to the end of the age.”6 —Jesus, to His disciples

“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides You; there is no Rock like our God.”6 Thank You, Father. Amen.

1 John 6:66
2 John 6:67
3 John 6:68-69
4 Galatians 2:16
5 2 Timothy 4:16-17
6 Matthew 28:20
6 1 Samuel 2:2

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