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John 17:1-5, Jesus Glorified — Never Abandoned

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you . . .
— John 17:1

NL Daily Devotion for Tuesday, August 27, 2019

by Dr. Kimberly Leetch, Clergy Stuff


As Jesus nears his death, he prays for his disciples -- his friends. He asks God to protect them, continue to teach them, and to glorify and sanctify them in God's truth. (In other words, to set them apart as holy because they live in God's truth.) Even though Jesus' work is nearly done, God's work never will be. God still has a job to do -- protect and lift up those people who still have jobs to do on God's behalf. (In other words, everyone.)

Someone once asked me, "Who protects you?" I answered, "No one protects me." "What about God? Doesn't God protect you?" "No, not even God," I replied. She told me I should discuss it with a therapist.

You have to understand, when my first child was 16 months old, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. His entire life would be filled with daily blood tests, insulin shots, and regular trips to the doctor. It was devastating. I felt like I had failed as a parent. If I couldn't protect my child from such a fate, then how could I ever be a worthy parent? If God couldn't protect a child, then what could or would God do? That has profoundly shaped who I am today.

I have since come to the realization that God doesn't protect all people from all things. But, how could God? If God did step in to protect all people from all things, this would be a fundamentally different world. It would be the paradise we are promised but have not yet obtained. But that doesn't mean God is absent. We cannot be saved from all things. But God does protect us in that God does not abandon us when the shiitake hits the fan. God wraps us in light and love when those things happen. God can fill us with God's presence and peace. And in that, we are made holy. We are made whole.

So no, I still don't think God "protects" us from all harm. But I do think God can protect us from absolute abandonment, from utter despair, and from complete isolation.

And my therapist agrees.

Remind us that we are yours, O God, that you will never abandon us. Amen.