Your hand trembles as you open the pathology report that has just come in the mail ….
Your voice breaks as you let your spouse know that you have lost your job ….
You don’t know how much your friends notice your hands shaking, but you have come to realize that you need to let them know, sooner rather than later, about your Parkinson’s ….
You do your best to hide your addiction, but you worry others might discover your dirty little secrets ….
You struggle desperately with loneliness, hiding behind the mask of a smile while appearing to be the life of the party to everyone else ….
Your memory is slipping, you find yourself angry more and more, but you are afraid that a trip to the doctor will confirm your worst fears ….
Life is hard ….
Yes, life can be full of joy, adventure, and blessing. But, none of us makes it out of this life unscathed. At some point, all of us will face tough times — times that try us down to our very souls; bone-wearying and soul-withering times ….
In the middle of these tough times, we can wonder: Where is God while I face my gut-wrenching messes? Why doesn’t Jesus come to me and still my storms and get me where I long to go?
We desperately need to know that the Lord is right here with us. If not, we are not sure we can continue in our struggles!
At such moments, our prayers can become something like this:
“Oh God, please, I’m begging you, please, show me you are here with me. Please help me know that I am not alone in my mess. Please help me believe that you will get me through this. Please show me that I don’t have to face this on my own!”
Why do we look at such longings as a sign of weakness or a lack of faith? A look in our Bibles tells us the exact opposite. Rather than considering ourselves weak for having struggles and yearning for God to show Himself, we need to know that we are in good company. Our deep longing to know God’s presence is with us in our worst trials connects to those we call heroes of the faith.
Faced with the daunting task of leading the slave-minded people of Israel through the wilderness, Moses was adamant. He wouldn’t lead God’s people unless the Lord’s presence went with them. Furthermore, Moses demanded that God display His glory to him or he couldn’t lead the people (Exodus 33:12-18). He had to know with full assurance that God’s presence went with him. He knew he couldn’t do it on his own!
Jesus had just washed His disciples’ feet and had warned them of their subsequent unfaithfulness (John 13:1-33). The Lord spoke of His return to the Father, then about His return to His disciples to bring them home to the Father (John 14:1-7).
Jesus’ apostles couldn’t grasp what He had said. They wanted to understand, but couldn’t. So Philip, speaking for all of the apostles, finally replies, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
Lord, show us your glory!
Lord, reveal the Father to us!
Lord, let us know you are with us!
That will be enough!
We are not alone in needing to know God is near. We are not weak because we want to know that the Lord is with us. God gave others before us His assurance of being present with them and never leaving them so that they could be “strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:6). Others begged God not to remove his presence from them (Psalms 51:10-12). They knew they couldn’t do it on their own!
Paul’s promise to the new believers in Philippi that the “Lord is near!” is just as pertinent for us today. Paul is facing possible death while in prison. While Paul believed he would see them again, he also knew that he might not (Philippians 1:19-24). He wanted to give his beloved friends in Christ a reminder of their hope and the assurance that they would never be abandoned by God no matter what happened to him personally. So he gave them — and us — three promises about God’s presence:
The Lord is near (Philippians 3:4).
The peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
The God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:9).
I want these three promises to be your assurance, too!
I don’t know what you are facing today. You may be on top of the world. You may be lower than you ever thought would be survivable. You may be caught somewhere in between these extremes. No matter what you face, please know two truths:
First, you are not weak or wrong because you long to experience God’s presence in your life. Faithful men and women of God have yearned for this assurance throughout history as they begged for God to reveal His presence. In fact, God wants you to seek Him and live (Amos 5:4-6). He wants you to call upon Him while He is near (Isaiah 55:6). He wants you to take delight in drawing near to Him (Isaiah 55:2) …..
Second, God has promised us, His children and Jesus’ disciples, that He would be present with us and NEVER EVER forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6). More faithful than a mother to the child at her breast, the Lord will not forget us (Isaiah 49:15).
We know that the Lord will never forsake those of us who trust in Him and call on His name (Psalm 9:10).
Don’t be afraid to ask for God to reveal His presence to you. Seek Him. Draw near to Him. Find your hope in Him. Most of all, trust the promises from Him:
“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9)
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
“And this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord . “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the Lord , have spoken!”
Please be encouraged today. The enemy wants us all to feel isolated, defeated, and alone. However, no matter what you might be going through; you aren’t alone. God is with us, and I am available if anyone would ever like to talk, share, or simply be prayed for. I am here for you … I love you and I care …
Remember: He knows You. He knew you in the womb. You are written in His palms and He knows every single strand of your hair and each that should fall to the ground. He is intimately aware of you, even if you aren’t of Him yet. He longs just as desperately to comfort you. Won’t you please reach out to Him today and allow yourself to be comforted and strengthened?
Let us pray ~
Lord I thank You that there is nothing that happens to me or to my loved ones that You do not know about, and that no matter what takes place in our lives – You are with us all of the time.
Lord we know that this world is not our home and that You have prepared a place in glory for all who have trusted Jesus Christ as Saviour. Thank You that however hard or difficult this life becomes and whatever befalls us – we know that the weeping that we endure through the trials of life and the blackness and pain we may feel along the way will one day be lifted forever – when You come to take us to be with Yourself… when we will be with You in Your glorious heavenly home, for evermore.
Thank You that the weeping of the night that we are going through, during our sojourn on earth, really will end in the most joyous morning – which You have promised to all who have trusted You – and we praise Your name that God has kept all our tears in a bottle for He knows our sadness and has promised to wipe away all the tears and pain that we have endured.
Lord, I do thank You that You have promised that Your grace is sufficient for all the hard times and trials that we may meet in this world. Praise Your holy name and thank You that You have promised the sufficiency of your wonderful grace to support us through this wilderness walk on earth. Thank You Father, in Jesus name I pray, Amen ….