I was chatting with a friend after church when another friend joined us. The two hadn’t seen each other for several weeks, and I listened in on their conversation as they met.
“How are you?”
“I’m doing well—I’m 14 weeks pregnant! And how are you?”
“I’m doing great! I’m engaged!”
Something in my soul lurched with a heavy thud. In several seconds, I’d been moved outside the conversation. They were (and still are) dear friends and didn’t intend to exclude me. I joined in with their smiles and joys, but the ominous rumbling persisted: You don’t fit in. You cannot identify with them now. You are alone. You are Left Behind.
Left Behind isn’t another chapter of an eschatological novel. It is real life.
I wish someone had told me what to expect the first time I found myself in the middle of a “Left Behind” chapter. Maybe it’s impossible to be prepared completely. But surely some pointers can help, can give guidance, can share hope. If you’re Left Behind, this chapter is for you. (For me too, next time I’m in the series.)
It is a series, after all, if you are blest to have more than one friend in the world. One by one, charming princes find our friends. They lose their hearts to each other and ride off into the sunset, and we are Left Behind.
Thus begins a new chapter in our life book. A chapter we would rather skip, but one which is actually a gift. Although it doesn’t feel like it initially, being Left Behind is a gift. It is a time in which God comes especially close, and we find new beauty and protection in His provisions for us.
I watched at a distance as three close friends simultaneously got lost in rosy shades of euphoria. Thankfully, they didn’t get lost completely. Mature and experienced, they still valued my friendship for which I was—and am—deeply grateful. One morning I got a rose-tinged e-mail from one of them. She reported bright, kind sunshine in her life, and said that even the rain held rainbows. While I didn’t wish anything less for her, I couldn’t keep my brain from asking my heart the inevitable questions.
Will it ever be my turn to be lost in rainbows and rosy skies? Do I have something equal to that euphoria, that rapture which my friend says is beyond words? Will I perpetually miss out?