Here’s a thought I heard yesterday that you may be guilty of…I sure am. You’re praying for someone and you ask the Lord to “be with them during this difficult time.” Do you realize just how wrong that statement is? God hasn’t gone anywhere, and He will never forsake the poor or needy. (Isaiah 41:17) Now it may seem like He’s far away to us, but He’s not…and in our mind it may appear that things are getting worse instead of better…but it could simply be that we aren’t seeing what we think should be happening. God promises deliverance from our enemies as we focus on Him and not our circumstances. Psalm 18:17 says, “He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.” Our hope then must come from God alone…for He promises He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Deuteronomy 33:27 goes on to assure us that, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” The Lord should be the very first one to turn to in times of pain and suffering, and prayer should be our first action, not an afterthought. For there is a place of security and a sense of peace amid any turmoil…it’s found only beneath the loving and everlasting arms of Jesus.
We’ve all been there. That deep moan of grief or pain escapes our lips…but that’s all. No words are spoken…because there are no words. Our mind is a confusing jumble of our frail mortal condition. That’s when the Holy Spirit can express for us the unutterable, inexpressible words we can’t find. And that’s when the Holy Spirit can step in and make intercession for us according to the Will of God. (Romans 8:27) The indwelling Holy Spirit is always there to pray…when we can’t.
James 4:8 tells us to, “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” What does “coming near to God” look like though? It starts with communing or fellowshiping with our Heavenly Father…and that means getting to know Him. It’s similar to when you first started dating your spouse…you talked together endless hours, getting to know each other. God wants us to know Him…and He wants us to trust Him. But we have to know Him before we can trust Him…and that means reading His Word and praying. God assures us that if we seek Him, we will find Him…for He’s longingly waiting for that opportunity to be known by us.
God is not up in Heaven right now pacing and wringing His hands…nor is there the slightest sign of uncertainty or doubt on His face. Rather, God is seated on His throne in total and absolute control of every situation happening today. For there is no person or thing that can successfully oppose or block God’s Will. That’s because His ultimate plan and purpose is always being worked out perfectly to conform to His Will…for with God all things are possible.
When life’s going along smoothly…we tend to ignore God. We smugly think it’s us that’s making it all happen. So when disease, death or tragedy hits – we’re thrown for a loop. ” How can this possibly be happening to me…what am I going to do…how can I fix this?” It’s at that point of distress, we finally cry out to the Lord. But how do we know God’s listening to us…how do we know we have His attention? We can start by reading His Word. The Bible is full of times when God miraculously answered His people’s cries for help. And each time He answered, their faith was built up a little more. The Psalmist showed this confidence when he wrote, “Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble I will call to You, for You will answer me.” (Psalm 86:6-7) It’s that assurance from past answered prayers that enable us to have confidence every time we cry out to God anew.
We were all once, “…without hope and without God in the world.” We were separated from Him by a chasm so deep and wide… there was no way of getting across by ourselves. In this bleak darkness our desperation grew, and we felt the hopelessness of being abandoned. But God then provided the bridge across that vast chasm…it was in the shape of a Cross. The gracious gift of redemption and reconciliation was bound to this Cross as the blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ, ran down it. Yes, we were all once hopeless and cut off from God…but then God built a bridge for us…in the shape of a Cross.