God is with us and wants relationship with us; he wants to save us from ourselves and from things that have evil intent against us in a world broken by our choices to be out of relationship from Him.
“The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
He will quiet you with His love. Think of the storms we walk through in our lives; He wants to give us quiet through His love. Of the many words that could have been used, I especially appreciate that choice in our world today. Additionally, our God is one who meets us as we come to Him; He makes promises to be beside us and protect us from consumption.
Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.”
Does this mean that no bad thing will happen to us? No; we will suffer and struggle. We will come under attack and experience loss because we still exist in a fallen world that is at war. But we should take heart because we know that the important parts of us will be protected by the Lord and we know what we strive towards.
1 Peter 4:12-13
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”
Rejoicing in our trials? At first this task was as hard for me as forgiving the Christians I saw as “Pharisees” that drove seekers away from Jesus and God (just being honest). I try to remember this call often. Whenever I start to feel like I am suffering, I try to look instead at what I can learn from it and remember how distant my suffering is from the suffering that was endured by Christ and his early followers, or even followers in other parts of the world today. I both appreciate the growth that can come from where I am being stretched and count my blessings. I have come a long way but I still have far to go. One of the best, most actionable ways I’ve found to do this is by trying to follow the actions in this verse.
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”
- Fearing the Lord is just being in awe of His greatness; if you understand all that He is capable of it is impossible to not appreciate with fear and trembling the gap that exists currently between God and ourselves, and appreciate how Jesus closes it
- Walking in obedience to God is showing our love to God; God shows his love to us through His keeping of His promises and all the blessings He bestows on us, most especially through His Son. The best way we show we love God is obeying through words, action, and heart.
2 Thessalonians 3:5
“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”
I love this as a prayer! As we pursue this deeper relationship we will have moments where doubt seeps in, when we think that the Lord will not keep his promise. Let us remember this verse:
“Let us hold tightly and without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.”