O Lord, almighty and ever-living God, You have given exceedingly great and precious promises to those who trust in You. Rule and govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that we may live and abide forever in your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
She was a cheerful soul. She had round cheeks and a wonderful smile and bright eyes. Her husband had died shortly after she arrived in town. It was supposed to be their retirement years, the place they had dreamed about living for years, away from the city, out in the country. It did not turn out that way. She spent the first months in a hospital with him, then a funeral, and then that little house they had picked out seemed really empty.
But Jesus had made a promise to her. He would be with her every day, even to the end of the world, even if it felt like her world was ending. He would not leave her. He did not leave her. She came to church that next Sunday and was embraced by women and men whom she had not known that long. They had not become fast friends, not yet anyway. But among them were others who had buried a spouse and others who knew the nature of pain and grief. And they loved her.
It took a little while, but the smile came back and soon she was bustling around that kitchen at church, serving children, serving funeral luncheons, making fellowship dinners happen. Many of us rejoiced with her. Jesus had kept His promise. In those other folks he had hugged her. He had loved her. He still does. He never left her.