This may sound a little sacrilegious to some, but I have learned many lessons about the nature of God from my dogs - the two I have currently and the one who passed away a couple years ago.
I could come through the door after being gone for hours, or I could have been gone for ten minutes and I would get a greeting that said, "You're the best thing since peanut butter!" Tails would be a wagging and a whirling with pure unconditional love. A glimpse of how God sees me.
Recently, I got yet another glimpse of God's loving nature when I was down and out with an episode of OCD anxiety and depression. Fortunately these episodes are few and far between, but when they hit...they hit hard. It's hard to explain to someone who has never experienced it, but sometimes the best way to cope is, like when you are sick with a cold or flu, to go to bed and rest. Resting or sleeping gives my brain a chance to take a much needed break from the onslaught of the repetitive, anxiety producing, obsessive thoughts. I may be in bed for a day, maybe two.
Amazingly though, I am never alone. Even if my husband has to go to work, Topper, the beagle, will jump up on the bed and curl himself into a ball near my chest. He snuggles in nice and close, shuts his eyes, and there he stays. Zoe, the senior lab, will lumber up the stairs (aching joints and all) to find me. When she does, she lies by my side of the bed, lets out a big sigh and there she abides.
All day they stay, they abide, and they never leave my side. They are there and I never feel alone.
Another glimpse of God...
They forego their fun times in the back yard to comfort me in my pain. They know I am hurting and though they can't make the pain go away, they can bring me love in the midst of it. Does this remind you of someone?
"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave or forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)
In this passage, Moses is speaking to the Nation of Israel who is on its way to the promised land. The "them" Moses is telling them not to fear are the nations/enemies that lie in their path. If you read the longer passage, I love how Moses reminds them of the path that God has already cleared thus far.
In The Message version it reads: "God is striding ahead of you and is right there with you."
I love this because only God can be striding ahead of you and right beside you at the same time. He is omnipresent. He has also been with you in the past.
Past, present, future...with God you are NEVER alone!
I don't know about you, but this brings me great comfort. I may not feel God at the moment, but if I choose to go with the facts found in scripture, I know that He is always there with me and will never leave me or forsake me.
He is Jehovah Shammah - The Ever Present One
Not only is God with us, but He promises us strength and help. He even promises to uphold us when we can't stand in our own strength.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
The Lord even promises to fight our battles for us if we will only be still. Who does that?
A God who thinks you are the best thing since peanut butter...
A God who loves you with an unfathomable love and has fought to the death with evil in order to save YOU...
A God who draws near to you, abides with you, and never ever will forsake you...
Draw upon these facts whenever you feel alone...
"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)
"Behold, I am with you to the end of the age." (Jesus speaking in Matthew 28:20)
All three persons of the Trinity are with you always. The Bible tells us that God sends us a Helper - the Spirit of Truth (Holy Spirit) who dwells in us and we can call upon Him in times of trouble.
I don't know about you, but that's a pretty strong defensive lineup!
The days are sunny and bright now, but I am confident that when trials come, I will never ever have to face them alone.
Lord, thank you for your promises to us, over and over again, that you are our constant companion and that you will never leave us or forsake us. Thank you that you promise us strength, help, and will even fight for us. Help us to claim the truth of these promises. In Jesus' name, Amen.
ps. Will you please pray for Redeemer Christian School in Pakistan? Pray for God's hedge of safety and protection to surround them and keep them safe from the evil that is in this world and on their doorstep. Pray for protection for the leaders and teachers and the innocent children. Pray that Jesus' light would shine victoriously.