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. 

Mundane Monday: Isolation’s Surprise

isolation

Photo Credit Flickr Creative Commons and loufi.

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

It is in the unlikely places that God reaches His people with His love and grace.

Scriptures of the Day:

Matthew 14:15

When evening arrived, his disciples came to him saying, “This is an isolated place and the hour is already late. Send the crowds away so that they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 15 But he replied, “They don’t need to go. You give them something to eat.”

Matthew 15:33

The disciples said to him, “Where can we get enough bread in this desolate place to satisfy so great a crowd?” 34 Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They replied, “Seven–and a few small fish.”

It is sometimes not until we are in a place of want that we understand how blessed we are. Not knowing how the bills will be paid, hoping the debit card works at the register at the grocery store, not being able to afford prescription medication, or even being unable to fix our car – all things I have walked through – taught me lessons I could never have learned when provision was more abundant.

The assumption the disciples made and we often can, too, is that in those desolate places, when we are alone and it seems there is no help, it is not what we have that matters. It is Who we have that makes all the difference.

The disciples did not see how they could help the masses of people. They looked at what they had, they looked at the resources around them and it looked bleak. This makes sense in our practical world. We don’t plan on what might be, we plan according to what is in our hands. While this is a sensible approach when it comes to living on a budget, God’s math does not add up when His children are hurting or in need. In the place of isolation there is a test. A test to see what our response will be. A test of trust.

He loves to demonstrate His care and use us to do so, as well. Jesus looked at their hearts and longed to provide in a way that brought glory to God. No one could take credit for such a lavish feast. People still scratch their heads today wondering how such a miracle could occur, but that is what is so awesome about God’s provision – it always surprises us because it does not seem possible.

Perhaps one of the most overlooked means of God’s provision is us. He blesses us and watches to see how we will be sensitive to see the needs of others. Will we be His hands and feet? God is asking us today, “What do you have?” Phew. humbling. But one of the greatest joys is giving and seeing God at work in the life of the recipient.  Much like earthly parents love to surprise their children with blessings, our God waits to see if we will call on Him and also be used by Him so He can answer in amazing ways.

But perhaps the need and provision are not the most significant aspects of these biblical stories. God is using that need to open their eyes to seek Him, that we might know Him more.

Lord, thank You that You are never far off when we cry out to You. Please help us to be attentive to the needs around us, ready to help, as well.