The Peace of His Presence
This is what the LORD says- he who created you, O Jacob,
He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
The flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
You are precious and honored in my sight, and I love you.
Do not be afraid,
for I am with you. Isaiah 43:1-5
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand
And says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:10-13
God has said,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Everybody is looking for peace. Once Jesus spoke to a storm and stilled it, but on another occasion in the midst of a storm of the fears of his friends, He said simply,
“I’m here. Take courage. Don’t be afraid” (Matthew 14:27).
Then He commanded His friend Peter to walk toward Him in the midst of the storm that tested his faith. The point is this: Jesus does not remove all the storms even of His friends, but He is present in them with us. He comes walking on top of them to demonstrate to us that He has reasons for them and to show us His greater glory. Sometimes the footprints of His presence are not obvious:
“Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen” (Psalm 77:19).
Even then, the wind and the waves are under His feet that were later nail-pierced for us.
Why is peace a prayer issue? Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, coupled prayer with peace that passes understanding.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus“ (Philippians 4:6-7).
When did you sense God’s presence the strongest? Was it at the emergency room with a child with a concussion? Was it when a doctor gravely told you that you needed surgery? Was it through the hours of a loved one’s last days? Was it when a friend betrayed you? Was it when you could not see the future but trusted that God was guiding? Were these times of His presence challenging or sweet, or both? In times like those, Jesus calls you blessed.
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed“ (John 20:49).
The psalmist summed it up:
“You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand“ (Psalm 16:11).
God’s peace is one of the benefits of our covenant relationship with Him.
If you have never walked in a relationship with Christ you can start today by committing and submitting your life to him. You can start this with a simple prayer:
Lord, thank You for dying so we can be set free from all of guilt and sin — no matter how big or small. Your blood has erased all of our sin. Thank You so much! Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be. Amen.
Two years ago I wrote on ‘hope’ seeing it as:
H – Holding
O – Onto
P – Promised
E – Eternity
Many people choose a word for the New Year, and several years ago I did as well. Last year it was grateful, and through this pandemic, being grateful for my blessings was something I leaned upon a great deal to stay faithful and positive.
This year God placed the word HOPE on my heart. I’ll be honest, that makes me a bit nervous. Then I recalled my little formula. Hope is more than wishing. The dictionary says it is to “expect with confidence.” When you and I hold onto the promises of the eternal, then it produces hope. God keeps His promises. He has in the past and He will continue to do so. As I often say, He is there and He cares.
Whatever happens in 2021, I know this to be true and I can cling to it. This is not my home, and this life is not all there is. There is an eternity waiting for me. An existence basking in the love of God, praising the Lamb for His sacrifice, and never experiencing pain, grief, illness, or rejection again.
A social media post asks if it bothers you that this year is saying “2020-won“? No, because God wins. Each and every time. That is a hope we can cling to.
David wrote ,
“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord” Psalm 31:24.
That is my prayer for you, no matter what this year brings.
The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews stressed:
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we possess, for He who promised is faithful.” (10:23).
Join me in holding onto the promises of God in hope – unswerving, steady, expectant confidence that He has got this. As Paul said, nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39). Nothing can snatch us from His hands. Nothing. Not a virus, a secular angry society, an unexpected illness, a job loss, an unfaithful spouse, or the heartbreak of a wayward child.