“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall hold me.”
He thought he had traveled far enough. He thought he had been gone long enough. Moses left Egypt, his life in the palace and his Hebrew heritage behind years ago, but God had not forgotten. He had been listening to His people crying out under the burden of slavery. And He had not lost sight of Moses and his growing family in the land of Midian. Today, the Lord would call him back. What began as a normal day tending sheep would transform Moses’ life forever. Things would never be the same.
I don’t think Moses saw himself as leadership material. He certainly didn’t believe he was capable or qualified. Take a look at Exodus chapters three and four. Moses’ excuses seem to be never ending. God’s response? “I AM is sending you. I am the LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (see verses Exodus 3:14-15). I AM with you, Moses, the Lord seems to say over and over again throughout his story. Every step of the way, I am with you.
David reminded us that “You [Lord] hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me” (Psalm 139:5), but when you can’t see your next step, it takes a lot of faith to believe those words. Some days, my faith is more reflective of Moses’ desperate plea—“Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” Not that I would wish for anyone to live this way, but if it were up to me, I would write the story different. Because I know that God is good and I have seen His glory, but what my flesh feels is afraid.
Maybe David was trying to run away from the Lord when he penned Psalm 139, but I find great comfort in them. In fact, “If [God’s word] had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction” (see Psalm 119:92). It gives me great peace to know that even in the darkest valley, in the loneliest places and in the greatest pain, God’s powerful arms can still reach. Tomorrow, my son will have another surgery (this time out-patient). I can’t be in the operating room, but Austin won’t be beyond the Lord’s grasp. Tomorrow, my toddler will cry and be too far for me to hold him but not too far for God’s love to cover him. I can’t tell you if tomorrow will be a good day or if it will end well, but I can tell you that I won’t have to do it alone. Friends will be praying. Family will visit. But most importantly, God will be with us, every step of the way.
Every step, every breath, You are there
Every tear, every cry, every prayer
In my hurt, at my worst
When my world falls down
Not for a moment, will You forsake me
Even in the dark
Even when it’s hard
You will never leave me
~Taken from “Not for a Moment” by Meredith Andrews
My son has recently been diagnosed with brain cancer, but here’s the great thing I have learned about the comforting presence of the Lord–He is in the little and the big. The writer of Hebrews tells us “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). In the living and in the dying, in every closed door and every shed tear, God is near. He is ready, willing and able to comfort. The storm may not end because His purposes are greater than we can imagine. The trials will not cease because we live in a fallen world. But to believers who have the abiding of the Holy Spirt, there will never be a moment when we have to do it alone. Jesus told His disciples, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
So, tomorrow, before your feet hit the floor, take a moment and reflect on God’s presence in your life. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” And just who is God? We don’t serve some statue or pray to some “guy upstairs.” I am talking about the Maker of Heaven and Earth. The merciful and mighty God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses is the same God you worship today. He is “gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (see Psalm 103:8), and He is eager to help you.
If you are reading this and you don’t know the God I serve, if you have never experienced the presence of the living Lord (or if you have turned away), then tonight, before you pillow your head, call on the name of the Lord. Romans 10:9 tells us “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” I cannot imagine going through this time without the Lord. Certainly, I wouldn’t have even made it this far. Don’t try to do it alone. You don’t have to—not even for a moment.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come . . . nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
*For up-to-date information on my son’s cancer journey, like our page on Facebook: Pray for Austin. Many of you have asked how you can help—if I could ask one thing of you today, it would be this: share a scripture that has encouraged you and (if you are comfortable) the story behind it. Thank you for your continued prayers!