How often have I prayed: “GOD BE WITH…(fill in the blank)” Can you relate?
- God, be with me as we travel
- God, be with me as I take this test
- God, be with Jane as she talks to her boss
- God, be with my dog (What can I say, I love my dog)
The last thing I want to be is a prayer critic. Prayer is communication with our Father God, who desires to hear our heart and for us to listen to His response. However, it struck me recently when I found myself uttering this phrase:
God, be WITH…(fill in the blank)
What it seemed I should be asking was:
“God help me to recognize you WITH ME”.
Really, where else would He be? Has He left? Does He have other, more important places to be? Look at what the psalmist David says in Psalm 139 (AMP):
O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do];
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And You are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue [still unspoken],
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And [You have] placed Your hand upon me.
Such [infinite] knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high [above me], I cannot reach it.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead), behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea;
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will take hold of me.
I often forget the Omnipresence of God. He is everywhere. He is WITH US! More than that, if we have placed trust and belief in Him, He is IN US!
“I am the God of Abraham your father; Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”
(God’s words to Isaac in Genesis 26:24)
“Behold, I am with you and will keep [careful watch over you and guard] you wherever you may go, and I will bring you back to this [promised] land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
(God’s words to Jacob in Genesis 28:15)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
(God’s words to Joshua in Joshua 1:9)
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.”
(God’s words to us through Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20)
In Scripture, we often see God reminding people of His omnipresence to discourage fear. As I thought about the truth of His abiding presence, I wondered why I so often struggle to hold fast to it.
When fear presents itself, if I chose to step back, acknowledge that He is with me, fear is so quickly replaced with peace. Let me give a real life example.
This last week, I traveled 7 hours one way to take my little girl, Libi to see some doctors. Libi is our medically complex child. She is 10 years old, yet her level of development is about age 1. The new terminology for people with special needs is exceptionalities. Libi is quite exceptional, but that will be saved for an entirely different post.
Among Libi’s exceptionalities is epilepsy. For the most part, Libi’s seizures are controlled, but recently their frequency has increased due to some changes with her medications. For most epileptics seizures can be fairly unpredictable. Libi’s seizures are unpredictable in timing, and severity. An episode can keep a long hold on her, lasting upwards of 30 minutes. Although she has had countless seizures, they can still cause fear to rise up in me. I believe the fear is rooted in the out of control, helpless feeling as I wait for the seizure to lift.
In the waiting moments of a seizure, I cling to my Father’s presence unlike any other time. Libi’s seizures require me to rest in His all knowing (omniscience) control and His abiding presence (omnipresence). Do you sense where this is all going yet?
On our little trip this week, Libi and I were required to make an overnight stop. The next morning, I was awakened at 5:00 to horrid yet familiar sounds. Libi was gasping in a rhythmic pattern. As I quickly jumped out of bed, I found her blue, in a full-blown seizure. My mind began to race in those first few moments, feeling alone, questioning what my next decision should be.
whispered to my heart…”I am WITH YOU”.
I recognized this great truth and made the choice to press into it. As a result, His peace washed over me. The questions of whom to call and what to do dissipated as I acknowledged that My Father God was present WITH ME, and He would give me all wisdom, power and strength for the moment I was in. My prayer turned from, “God, be WITH ME”; to “God, You are WITH ME giving me the wisdom I need in these moments.” Over and over, I sensed Him saying, I AM WITH YOU, and you need nothing else.
Did I really trust that God was omniscient in that moment? Did I trust that if He allowed my worst fears to be realized that He would still be WITH ME?
TO RECOGNIZE HIS PRESENCE IS TO KNOW HIS PEACE!
Libi’s body was soon released from the seizure and we moved on with the day, only to see this on the drive…
I AM WITH YOU! A sign of His forever faithfulness.
That was all good, wonderful, amazing. God once again proved this truth to me. Empowering, right? Yes, until the next time it’s challenged. Like right now…I’m flying. I hate flying. Once again, I sense God whispering to my heart that He is WITH ME. What else do I need? I’ll tell you, the ground! Or maybe just to sit in the cockpit with the pilot and make sure he really knows what he’s doing. Also, if he could commentate everything he’s doing and why that would be incredibly helpful. Actually, if I could just see the hand of God underneath the plane, I would be great! Instead, I am sitting in my seat asking God to help me hold fast to the truth that He is here WITH ME, and I need nothing else. Despite the fact I am shaking and just waiting to drop out of the sky to emanate death. I apologize, but I’m just keeping it real with you.
I’m reminded of a conversation with a dear “sister friend” who had a straight conversation with me about my fear of flying. She told me I was being completely irrational. Then, she proceeded to explain the rational to me. She was right.
- Rational – having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense
- Irrational – without or deprived of normal mental clarity or sound judgment
This causes me to recall 2 Timothy 1:7
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].
This all holds true, whether a seizure or flight, God is WITH US and He will not leave, we will not need to ask, He will just be there. We must chose to recognize that truth and press into it.
What’s your God WITH YOU thing? Is there something you just keep running alone, rather than recognizing He is WITH YOU? Where is it that you find His peace is not abiding?
Let me tell you, as I was writing, the captain came over the intercom to give notice that we were headed through some turbulence and the flight attendants would be taking their seats. Fear began to grip me to the core, or should I say bladder? Then I glanced out the window to see this…
God WITH ME!
….this is your Captain speaking!!
Don’t ever tell me He is not here WITH US, if you do, I might show you a picture of a rainbow! Actually, if you all could just send this to me next time I’m flying or in the midst of a seizure with my little girl, that would be AWESOME!
Press into His Presence this week… know He is WITH YOU!