Have you found yourself in a position of a hard season or situation and you didn’t acknowledge God was with you? Or maybe you’re like me, and you didn’t realize it was enough. And I know it’s enough, because, “But I will be with you” is God’s answer to a lot of people in the Bible. This was his answer to the Israelites crossing the Jordan River. I can only imagine Joshua’s reaction to, “Do not fear…for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave your or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). Like you and I, his reaction was probably anxiety and uncertainty; he didn’t know the other side of the story like you and I do now. And so many times, we find ourselves in this sheepish position of struggling to trust God and his protection over our lives.
There are a lot of Bible references in the Old and New Testament that conclude with, “But I will be with you,” and, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” Why does God say this so many times? Why do we feel the need to hear it?
Maybe it’s because God knows we don’t like to do life alone. Maybe he knows that we don’t like to do hard things alone. Maybe he knows that sometimes what he calls us to terrifies us, but to know that he’s with us is enough. His answer to fear is himself. But do we see that He is enough? Do we see that even if life is chaotic, the very presence of God with us is the best thing?
Maybe you’re like the disciples who had Jesus with them in the boat and still chose fear of the waves instead of trusting Jesus. I know I have had those same days. In Matthew 4:38, Jesus was quite literally with the disciples. When the waves were rocking the boat and Jesus was found sleeping, they said, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Oh, how I have found myself knowing Jesus was with me, yet questioning his protection and promises based on what I can see with my eyes.
Has it been enough just to walk with God through my hard days? I want it to be. God’s answer is always himself. When the Israelites were struggling, he said he would be with Joshua as he and the Israelites walked through the Jordan River (Joshua 1-3). When years later, we were still struggling, he sent Jesus. If that wasn’t enough, Jesus’ name means “God with us.”
We serve a detailed God who never contradicts himself, and always delivers what he promises. As you can see, the common theme in these passages is that the miraculous always occurs after God says he will go with us. He always shows himself in those moments. He made the waters stand up so his people could cross the Jordan, he spoke “Peace” to the waters and they stood still, and he sent Jesus to literally save us and be with us. He prepares us with a promise, he comforts us in our fear by going with us, and then he solidifies our faith when he performs the miracle.
My challenge to you is to not allow your fear to outweigh God’s presence. And trust me, I have lived many days of knowing this with my mind but not living it with my heart. But God’s nearness will always be enough. It will always be the answer to my struggle, my fear, and my doubt.
And when we walk and talk with God through our uncertainty, fear, and hardship, we walk differently. We walk boldly, confident that the Lord will carry us through to the other side.
Like the disciples, you can be honest with Jesus. If you need an honest way to pray, feel free to write this final prayer down. And when we question Jesus about whether he is truly walking with us, maybe we can re-read this post together to remember.
God, I am scared, I am in pain, I am uncertain. But I know you are with me. And I know you are enough. I choose to trust you as I wait in the middle of a promise and a miracle. In the meantime, I thank you for walking with me in my mundane, chaotic, and joyful moments.