John 16.31-33 cont.
31 Jesus answered them: “Do you now believe?”
32 Look, the hour comes and has already come when each of you will be scattered each to his own place and only I will be left, but I am not alone, because My Father is with Me.
33 I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but be courageous, I have overcome the world.
Many church leaders may have some understanding of what Jesus was about to go through. Jesus was about to embark on a task with which no one else could help Him. He was about to tread a pathway on which no one else could accompany Him. Those in church leadership generally experience times when they have to encounter situations and problems with which no one else can assist them.
Loneliness is a characteristic of leadership, because leadership means stepping out in front to lead others; it means stepping out of line to confront those who oppose the direction God is leading. It runs the risk of seeming aloof and detached from other people. Yet the call of leading is to forge ahead into the battle, knowing that the power of victory is not our strength, but in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit.
Whenever any of us are called to confront challenging situations we must live in the truth of these words:
It is not by force nor by strength, but by My Spirit, says the LORD Almighty – Zechariah 4.6 (NLT).
Jesus was deserted by His human companions; those whom the Father had given Him were about to abandon Him; those He had trained and shared the secrets of the Kingdom with were about to vanish and leave Him bereft of all human support. However, Jesus also knew that He would not be alone. He knew that the Father was to remain with Him. This was to be throughout His arrest and trial.
Jesus knew that the Father was with Him even as He hung on the cross. We know that Jesus cried out: “My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?”, yet He also knew that His Father was with Him, since He went onto say: “Father, I commit My spirit into Your hands” – Luke 23.46.
We have the tremendous promise of Jesus that He will be with us forever and that the Holy Spirit will be with us forever. Therefore, whatever our circumstance we are never, never alone. Whatever He calls us to face, we face in the assurance that He is with us.