Finding Strength in God’s Presence

 

9-9-19 God is near2 Timothy 4:16-18 (NLT)
“The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death. Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.”

Ever felt so very alone in the midst of a really hard season? Here’s Paul, a former murderer of God’s people, now conspicuously representing the same faith as those people before a secular judge. And those people He was identified with, defending the same faith? They all left him at that moment.

But God.

The presence of God is supernatural, able to comfort us more than any human ever could. Paul was strengthened by God’s presence and he knew that the LORD was with him and that He rescued him. But more than that, Paul did not look to the future fearfully. He knew the same God who was with him in the valleys and the mountains would be with him no matter what the future brings.

I identify with Paul in this passage. No one went with him when he was brought before the judge. I remember such a time when I was standing before a judge by myself. The feeling of being defenseless and defeated overwhelmed me. It did not seem like truth and justice would prevail. Where was God?

With me. With you. Emmanuel. God with us. He was with me when I lost and with me when I won. In all of it, He gave me power and strength. What about you? Do you feel alone in an area of your life? Isolated and unseen?

God wants us to abide in Him so we are never alone.

Being by ourselves when we are facing the really hard moments of life that makes us feel particularly vulnerable. There is something about the company of others that helps us feel stronger.

But the company of the God of this universe surpasses any human comfort. Our God is for us, in us and with us! Praying you feel His presence today. 

Worshipful Wednesday: The Fruit of Patience in God Alone

Patience

Psalm 62:1-2, 5-9

1b  “For God alone I patiently wait; he is the one who delivers me. 2 He alone is my protector and deliverer. He is my refuge; I will not be upended. 5 Patiently wait for God alone, my soul! For he is the one who gives me confidence. 6 He alone is my protector and deliverer. He is my refuge; I will not be upended. 7 God delivers me and exalts me; God is my strong protector and my shelter. 8 Trust in him at all times, you people! Pour out your hearts before him! God is our shelter! (Selah) 9 Men are nothing but a mere breath; human beings are unreliable. When they are weighed in the scales, all of them together are lighter than air.”

Our flesh does not want to wait.  It does not want to be inconvenienced.  It wants what it wants, when it wants it.  It is a well known phrase that we should not pray for patience, but pray or not, we will all be tested to see if we possess this attribute. Patience is hard, but truly a trait of a virtuous person. It is the ability to endure hardship or suffering with humility.  It is the setting of our will to look to God alone.  It is not merely surviving.  It is not thinking that we deserve better, but recognizing that we all suffer in this life and that our dependence on God is what will strengthen us and enable us through whatever life brings.

The Psalmist knew that waiting on God alone was where His deliverance lay.  David knew where his help came from – only One.  How often we run to other sources for comfort or an escape, only to find we are worse off than we were before. Vices and substitutes can never fulfill us like God can.  They can temporarily provide relief, but deep down our soul cries out for more.

Patience is needed during the trials of life but the reward for patience is well worth it.  Eternal rewards are certain, but God also grants us encouragements on this earth.  To be able to have confidence despite our circumstances is supernatural. To have peace when everything around us ignites fear is nothing short of astounding.  That is the heritage of those who patiently run to God for the answer to every dilemma.

Our hope is not found in an entity or a person, which both fail.  The sovereign God Who knows all is the only real hope we have.  How amazing that the God Who we insulted and sinned against delivers us and exalts us when we come to Him.  We are not worthy of such a reward, and yet He lavishes His love and kindness upon us.

The fruit of patience is beautiful in its full bloom.  It is not patience for patience sake.  It is a deep trust in God and gratitude in the face of harsh reality.  It is rest in the wake of any storm.  Considering what we truly deserve, we learn contentment through suffering.  We can acknowledge that the ugly side of life has usefulness for patiently producing righteousness in all who do not harden their heart with bitterness, but instead look to God in faith – waiting on Him alone.

Lord, help us to go to You alone while we are in the waiting room of life.  You are our hope, our ever-present joy.  In a sea of uncertainty, You are our firm anchor.  Help us to see where we are impatient.  Grant us patience in all walks of life and a quiet trust in You.