“Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again?” (Psalm 77:7 NIV)
When you are in distress, God is with you. But it may not feel that way, it may feel like God is rejecting you. That isn’t true, it’s a lie. God never leaves nor forsakes us:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV).
This passage was spoken by Moses to Joshua when he was taking leadership over the Israelites in the desert. Joshua was given the assignment of leading them into the promised land. Moses was encouraging him that no matter what Joshua faced in the days ahead, no matter how alone he may feel, he wasn’t. God was always with him. Paul reiterated this in his letter to the Hebrews:
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV).
When you are in distress, God is with you.
Then why do you feel alone? Why don’t you feel His presence all of the time? There isn’t one answer for these questions, there are many. One reason I have found is because I’m the one who moved.
My parents had a joke they shared. They dated in the 1960’s when cars and trucks had bench seats, unlike modern cars. Dad would drive his truck, Mom would sit next to him, his arm around her. As the years went by, kids were born and life happened, they stopped doing this. One day, my mom said to my dad, “Why don’t you put your arm around me anymore when you’re driving?” My Dad replied, “I’m not the one that moved.”
We do the same thing with God. He’s driving the truck, at first we’re nestled up against Him. But then life happens and we slowly start to slide away from Him. One day, we realize, we’re not as close as we used to be. When that happens, God says the same thing to us, “I’m not the one that moved.”
The second thing I’ve learned to ask God in times of distress, “What are you trying to teach me?” God is always teaching us something, and usually not what we think. God is molding us for His purpose, and often, our greatest lessons are learned during times of distress. But fear not, God is with you. He will use it for His good if we turn our distress over to Him.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).
Question of the Day:
Are you as close to God as you once were?
Further Reading: Deuteronomy 28:1-68 NIV, Luke 11:14-36 NIV, Psalm 77:1-20 NIV, Proverbs 12:18 NIV