Last Sunday was Ascension Sunday, the day we celebrate Jesus returning to his Kingdom and to his Father. What a wonderful moment that must have been in heaven. Can you imagine the celebration, the singing, the angels surrounding the King of Kings as he sat back on his throne at the right hand of his Father? How glorious indeed.

Unless you were one of his disciples left standing and looking up into the sky.

Can you imagine what it felt like to be Peter or John or James? They lost Jesus once before and they huddled together in a locked room alone and afraid. At least this time, they have his promise of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, the Encourager, the Counselor. But even so, that is a week away.

This band of disciples has been with Jesus for over three years, including 40 days in his resurrected state. Except for the two days when they believed him crucified, they have never been without him. Can you imagine what they must have faced during this week of waiting? Can you imagine what they must have felt, longing for their ascended Jesus, wishing for this Comforter they have yet to meet?

Did they feel lost?

Did they feel lonely?

Did they feel abandoned?

Did they feel confused?

Did they harbor doubt?

Did they venture forth at all or stay, huddled together, seeking to fill the hole that Jesus left behind in each of their lives?

I don’t know about you, but these musings kick me in the gut. For seven long days, the disciples waited, mourning the loss of their Savior once again.

And I think, what about me?

Can I even begin to understand those seven days? Can I even slightly comprehend the emptiness, the longing, the broken-heartedness, the loneliness they endured over that week?

Because really, I’m pretty spoiled where knowing Jesus is concerned, you know? There has never been a time in my life when he has not been with me. There has never been a time in my life when the Encourager and Counselor has not been with me. There has never been a time in my life when the Father was not with me, watching over me, taking care of me, wrapping me in his beauty.

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Maybe that’s why I too often take Jesus for granted.

That sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it, taking Jesus for granted? But it’s true. Because if I didn’t take him for granted, he’d be the first thing I focused on every morning. He’d be the first one I talked to when something was bothering me. He’d be the first one I turned to when my heart was hurting or my patience were waning or my anger was bubbling. He’d be the first one I ran to when I wanted to celebrate something amazing that happened in my life.

He’d be first.

But the truth is, he’s not. He’s a second thought in a moment that passes too quickly. He’s too easily dismissed, forgotten, left behind, abandoned as I go it alone. As I face the Enemy {unsuccessfully} in my own strength. As I stare down my giants {unsuccessfully} with my own arrogant ignorance. As I tremble in the bottom of the boat afraid from the storm and lost in the raging waves.

And so today, I revisit my friends, the disciples, with whom I walked the road to Jerusalem as we followed Jesus here. Today I watch them in their pain, in their grief, in their longing, huddled together and whispering wavering assurances that the Comforter is coming, that Jesus hasn’t deserted them to this world. I watch them cling to his truth and his promises.

I watch them cleave to him even in his absence.

And as I watch them, I wonder, have I ever clung to him like that? Do I now?

That’s when I hear it. The whisper of my Savior, Start now. I’m waiting here for you. Start with this moment. 

And so I do.

I fall to my knees, I close my eyes and I open my heart. I pour it out into his hands, every last bit of it.

And I cleave to him with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength.

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