The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
So it got me thinking. I know that was a collective groan I just heard. She’s thinking again…but you will be glad I did if you continue to read this post. I was thinking about what this verse has to say about “seeing God.” I think it practically yells out, (with jumping and pointing, even) “THERE HE IS!!!”
God is so big that he goes BEFORE us and stays WITH us…all at the same time! That’s mighty big. It’s also mighty comforting, don’t you agree?
He will NEVER leave us and he will NEVER forsake us. We all know what the word leave means. Has anybody ever told you to “make like a tree and LEAVE”? No? Just me? Oh well. Hopefully we all know what leave means. But how familiar are we with the term forsake? Webster defines it this way: to renounce or turn away from entirely. That’s not just leaving, that’s leaving and forgetting. Pretending that the being never happened. That has to hurt in a big way. Have you ever been forsaken? Do you feel that way right now? Well, the thing is you may be forsaken. But not by God. He can NEVER forsake you. He said he never would so that means he can’t because he IS Truth.
If you feel forsaken by God let me assure you that he is still right there, where he’s always been; before you and with you. He hasn’t moved away. Stay with me here. Picture yourself playing a 2-year-old version of Hide & Seek with God. You know the version I’m talking about, when a child covers his eyes and thinks he’s hiding from you. It’s the I-can’t-see-you-so-you-can’t-see-me thing. God just stands there waiting for us to take our hands from our eyes and have the courage to face what he has for us.
That’s why the last part of that verse is so perfectly appropriate: do not be afraid or discouraged. Take courage in the fact that even when you can’t see God, it doesn’t mean he’s not there.
There are so many people who feel left and forsaken right now because of the economy and its negative effects on their families. I know several instances where at least one member of a family has recently lost a job or had a company forced to close. There are people who can’t pay their bills, much less their mortgage payments. They feel forsaken. My heart goes out to these people. It’s scary. I know. I’ve been there. More times that I care to remember. But it’s a good thing – that remembering. Because when I remember, that’s when I see the evidence: God was with me through the whole thing. Even when I felt the most alone.
One of those times was the first time I played the What If… game with God. It’s what Beth Moore calls Then What? in the Esther Bible Study (highly recommend, by the way). It’s where you play out the scenarios of all the bad things that could happen to you from the point you feel you can’t get through. Mine went something like this:
What If… my husband loses his job and can’t get another one, like, REAL fast?
Then… we might not be able to pay our bills.
What if… we can’t pay our bills?
Then… we will suffer the consequences (i.e. utilities cut off, vehicles repossessed, home foreclosed on, etc.)
What if… those consequences come to pass?
Then…worst case, we are homeless, living in a cardboard box under the interstate.
What if… are homeless, living in a cardboard box under the interstate.
Then… we are still living and we’re still together.
What if… you’re not together? What if you are alone?
Then… I would still be breathing. I wouldn’t like it. But I would do it.
What if… you got sick and you lost your life because of all the bad stuff that happened?
Then… my life on this earth would be over, but my soul would still live FOREVER in the presence of GOD. (Big sigh!!!)
So when I finished with my little game and I saw how it could all play out, even down to the most drastic and dire circumstances, how could I continue to worry about it? I had come to the conclusion that even if I lost my very life, I could not lose my soul. That part is held tightly in the hands of God Almighty and he will never let me go!
Now, I know it’s quite a jump from losing a job to dying, but it was my game, ok. I made up the rules. You can make your own game. And I encourage you to do just that. Think about how you will respond when not-wonderful things come your way. I don’t mean for you to play this game for the sake of thinking up things to worry about. It’s about making up your mind right now how much you trust God to be who he says he is and to do what he says he will do. Don’t wait until you are in the thick of a crisis to try and figure it out. You will be too close to it then. Do it today. Determine in your heart and mind that God will never leave me or forsake me; I will NOT be afraid; I will NOT be discouraged.
Then when you SEE God, PLEASE come back here and share it with us. God gets the glory and we all share the encouragement.