“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."”
- Joshua 1:9 (ESV)
Growing up I knew that God was real and that He loved me very much, but I often felt like He was far away from me. As if He was on a completely different planet watching over me, but not present with me in every waking moment. I now know that God is always with me. Even though I can't see Him, His peace is quite evident. In the good times and the bad times, He makes His presence known. I now love to speak to Him every chance that I get, because He is always just a prayer away. It amazes me how He's holy, yet so personal and close at the same time.
God is always with you, and He will never leave or forsake you. Even in trying times He is near. He is with you in the fires, storms, and wilderness.
God is with you in the fire
“Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose in haste. He declared to his counselors, "Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?" They answered and said to the king, "True, O king." He answered and said, "But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods."”
- Daniel 3:24-25 (ESV)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were just 3 young men who loved God more than life itself. Their love for God led them to make a bold move and object the orders of King Nebuchadnezzar. They knew that they were taking a huge risk, but they had too much regard for God to just bow down to a statue. As a result of their boldness, they were summoned to death and sent to die in a fiery furnace. However, their story didn’t end there! In the furnace, they were accompanied by what appeared to be a 4th man. But it wasn't just any ordinary man, but God wrapped in flesh! He went through the fire with them, protecting them from the violent and harsh flames that were aimed to kill them. You see, God wouldn't allow them to be burned, nor would He allow them to perish in the fire. Why? Because that's just how good He is. He stared into the face of death for His beloved children and rescued them from doom.
After walking through a rough season God spoke to me one day and said, “DID YOU RECOGNIZE ME?” at first I didn't understand what He meant, but later on I realized that He was asking if I had noticed Him accompanying me whilst I was going through a fiery season. As I began to reflect over just how difficult that season had been for me, I realized that God had been right there with me the entire time, however, I hadn't paid attention to how He had been protecting and guiding me along the way. As I look back over that season, I now see how God gently carried me through and made sure that I was O.K, just like a good father.
Sometimes we think that when things are bad and tough, that God has forgotten about us, that He has abandoned us. But He is just as present in those moments as He is in all the others. Fires aren't 100% avoidable, the 3 Hebrew boys were in the furnace because they took a stand, but God covered them. As children of God, we will walk through fires but we won't be burned in the process. We’ll always come out stronger, like true champions!
God is with you in the storms
“And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.”
- Matthew 8:24-26 (ESV)
The disciples were scared, shaken, and spooked by the storm. However, Jesus was on the boat with them the entire time, so they had nothing to fear. In an instant, at the sound of His voice, the storm was calmed and the seas were soothed. Jesus had absolute authority over the winds and the waves, yet His disciples chose fear over faith. The same group of men that witnessed Jesus perform miracles day after day, doubted that He was a present help in times of trouble.
How many times have you felt terrified in this life, forgetting that God was with you? How often have you found yourself being anxious instead of trusting that God would protect you? In life, you will experience raging storms, even without warning sometimes. But know that while the waves are crashing near you, God will be right there with you. It'll only be a matter of time before the storm is over because storms don't last forever. So hold fast and remember who your God is.
God is with you in the wilderness
“The people of Israel ate the manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land. They ate the manna till they came to the border of the land of Canaan.”
- Exodus 16:35 (ESV)
The children of Israel were in the wilderness for 40 years, yet their clothes never shrank, they drank water from rocks, and they ate manna from Heaven; God didn't allow them to go without. Even while they were in a dry and weary land, He made sure that they had everything that they needed. When you feel stuck, inconvenienced, or completely overwhelmed you can trust that God will still provide for you. If the Israelites had remembered that God was on their side, and simply followed His instructions. Then they would've been out of the wilderness much sooner. But instead, they chose to be disobedient and serve false gods, because they were desperate, confused, and wanted their own path.
Don't act like the Israelites, cling to God in times of trouble, don't scatter from Him. God is your leader, your comforter, your strength, and He is with you. Therefore don't resist His directions, simply trust that He’s got you in the palm of His hands. Don’t just think that God is with you in the harvest seasons and promise lands; because even when all you see around you is dust and sand, God is with you.
As you sit through fires, stand in storms, and walk through the wilderness, remember to keep your head up because it’s only a season. On your worst days don't be deceived or dismayed, because the Lord is always with you.