Monday, August 8, 2016

God is with us in the dark...

artwork by Tamara Peterson

As I pondered this captivating artwork by Tamara Peterson, I remembered a question I heard Pastor Andy Stanley ask,

"What would a girl, just like you, do, in a situation just like the one you are in, if she was absolutely certain that God was with her?" 

That question helps me to remember the Truth that I know and believe…God is with us in the dark…His name is Emmanuel, God with us…He will never leave us or forsake us…listening to the anointed hymn, He Is With Us, by Love & The Outcome while studying Hebrews 13:5b:

Amplified: for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]

Barclay: for he has said: “I will never fail you and I will never forsake you.’

NLT: For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”

Phillips: God has said: 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.’

Wuest:  For He himself has said, and the statement is on record, I will not, I will not cease to sustain and uphold you.

Greek scholar Kenneth S. Wuest writes: “Forsake" is a compound of three Greek words, eg meaning “in,” kata meaning “down,” and leipo meaning “to leave.” Leipo has the idea of forsaking one, kata suggests rejection, defeat, helplessness, and eg refers to some place or circumstance in which a person may find himself helpless, forsaken. The meaning of the word is that of forsaking someone in a state of defeat or helplessness in the midst of hostile circumstances. The word in its totality means “to abandon, desert, leave in straits, leave helpless, leave destitute, leave in the lurch, let one down.” There are three negatives before this word, making the promise one of triple assurance. It is, “I will not, I will not, I will not let you down, leave you in the lurch, leave you destitute, leave you in straits and helpless, abandon thee.” All of which means that our God will come to our rescue when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances.”


Pastor Charles Spurgeon said: “It would hardly be possible in English to give the full weight of the Greek. We might render it, “He himself has said, I will never, never desert you, and I will never, never, never abandon you.” Though that would be not a literal, but rather a free rendering, yet, since there are five negatives in the Greek, we do not know how to give their force in any other way. Two negatives nullify each other in our language. In the Greek, they intensify the meaning following one after another. It means that in not one single instance will the Lord leave you, nor in any one particular will He leave you, nor for any reason will He leave you. If you have cast yourself upon His infinite power and grace, He will carry you to the end. Not only will He not desert you altogether, but He will not leave you even for a little while. He may seem for a small moment to hide His face from you, but He will still love you and still supply your needs.”

Robinson Crusoe, the chief character in a novel by Daniel Defoe, was shipwrecked and stranded on an uninhabited island. Life was hard, but he found hope and comfort when he turned to the Word of God. Crusoe said, “One morning, being very sad, I opened the Bible upon these words, ‘I will never, never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’ Immediately it occurred that these words were to me; why else should they be directed in such a manner, just at the moment when I was mourning over my condition, as one forsaken of God and man? ‘Well then,’ said I, ‘if God does not forsake me…what matters it, though the world should all forsake me?’ From this moment I began to conclude in my mind that it was possible for me to be happier in this forsaken, solitary condition than it was probable that I should ever have been in any other state in the world; and with this thought I was going to give thanks to God for bringing me to this place.”

Have you ever been alone, really alone? If so, there’s good news. If you have invited Christ into your life as Savior and Lord, you’re never alone. You have His constant presence. Here is His promise: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). And from God the Father: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Recognize with the psalmist that there’s no place you can go where God is not with you (Psalm 139:7).

What can I do to help? If we want to be followers of our Savior, we should be reaching out to the lonely all around us. But we can’t be with them all the time, nor can we fully know their pain. Our presence may help, but we are never enough. Only God can meet the needs of the lonely. And here is the good news. In Jesus He has revealed Himself as “Emmanuel,” which means, “God with us.” One day G. Campbell Morgan visited an elderly woman who lived alone. Before leaving, he read, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). “A great promise,” he said. With a twinkle in her eye she retorted, “Dr. Morgan, that’s not a promise. It’s reality!” For her, Emmanuel was the ultimate cure for loneliness.

Bible Teacher Beth Moore writes: “His name, Emmanuel, "El" means "God," the rest of the word means "with us," the "with us God." He created us to be with us. He gave each of us a longing for Him by creating every single human being with a "with" need.”

Pastor Charles Swindoll writes: “Emmanuel. God with us. He who resided in Heaven, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit, willingly descended into our world. He breathed our air, felt our pain, knew our sorrows, and died for our sins. He didn't come to frighten us, but to show us the way to warmth and safety.”

When trouble or tragedy strikes, we long for God, the living God. Uncomfortable circumstances may continue, but God will prove Himself our sure refuge because He has promised He will never forsake us. His name, Emmanuel, means “God with us.” Because of this truth we can continue to call on the Lord with confidence that He will hear and respond because of His unfailing love.

O Heavenly Father, Emmanuel, thank You that You are the “with us God.” Thank You for Your promised presence with me today. Although my circumstances may seem overwhelming, I call to You with confidence because You are all powerful and You love me. I praise You that you are Emmanuel—God with us—in everything we experience as we walk through this broken, hurting world. Help me to be Your hands and feet today, Your words of comfort and encouragement to those who need to know “where You are” in their times of deep need. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Look up – Meditate on Hebrews 13:5b. Pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look in – Meditate on Hebrews 13:5b. Pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: “Because God is ______________, I will ______________.”

Look out – Meditate on Hebrews 13:5b. Pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.  


30 comments:

  1. Thanks, Beth. This was not one of Krista's normal drawings and was drawn in to see who did this one and what it was about. I am fascinated by the quote from "Robinson Crusoe" and now will want to place that classic on my TBR list. Another classic I never read. Besides that, this whole piece is such a powerful reminder that no matter where we are, what conditions we face, we are NEVER alone. Thanks, thanks...so much, Beth.

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    1. Linda, thank you so much for taking time to stop by and leave such an encouraging comment! This is my first new post since my 26-day posts in January which God knit together to publish our Name Above All Names Devotional for His honor and glory. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  2. That artwork is beautiful and I just finished reading through the book of Hebrews in The Passion Translation... praise God, He really (really, really!) meant it when He said He would never leave us! Great post!

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    1. Thank you, Karrilee, I so appreciate your kind comments. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  3. These are "good for me" words, Beth, because I have a tendency to expect the presence of God to land like a shining beacon into my dark situations, but the truth is that He may allow me to sit with Him in the dark and know His comfort there without necessarily changing the visible circumstances. So good to be reminded of this with Scriptural support!

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    1. Michele, I so agree with you! What's really neat is that the artist Tamara Peterson was inspired to paint this artwork after hearing a little boy, Gavin, only two-and-a half years old, summarize their pastor's sermon with these words, "God is with us in the dark..." So precious that God's Word can be understood and applied by even the youngest children...oh, that we would have childlike hearts too! Many blessings to you!

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  4. I hang on to that Philippians scripture quite often. It is comforting to know God is always with us no matter what. That is what kept me going when my first husband passed away many years ago.

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    1. Aileen, thank you so much for sharing your heart with me. Many blessings to you!

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  5. Beth, I can't tell you how many times I've turned to this verse—either for a friend, or for myself. When I cling to these words, they do offer an amazing hope. The passage you shared from Robinson Crusoe was beautiful. Thank you for this encouragement today!

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    1. Jeanne, I so agree with you...as we pray God's word, we experience His peace that passes all our understanding. Many blessings to you!

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  6. Such beautiful truths here of the reality that He is always with us! Thanks Beth!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by with such an encouraging comment, Ellen. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  7. Such great words of truth and hope. I love especially how Beth Moore illuminated it. We are made for a longing for "with." Clinging to the promise that God is indeed with me not matter what. Glad to be your neighbor at #TellHisStory.

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    1. Thank you, Becky! Beth Moore is one of my favorite Bible teachers, too. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  8. God is with us...amen! We are neighbors at Beth's today.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Susan. Many blessings to you!

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  9. Powerful post...I needed to be reminded of the truth, He will never leave me this morning. Thanks.

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    1. Yes, Betty, I so agree with you! Many blessings to you!

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  10. A great reminder, Beth! One we desperately need to hold onto, because the storms and the darkness will come. Your #livefreeThursday neighbor.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Julie. Many blessings to you!

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  11. Thank you so much for this post. I needed to read it ! Really

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    1. Summer, I so appreciate your comment...really! Many blessings to you!

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  12. The question you started with is so thought provoking. I am there now. God is laying some "majors" on my heart to do, and I know the only way it is going to happen is with Him being WITH me. I learned recently that you don't necessarily have more faith, but more trust in God's character. He is faithful no matter what, but do I really believe in His faithfulness when it looks impossible? There's so much more to it than I can fit in a comment box, so I digress. I can tell you spent a lot of time on your post. Thanks for that. I know what it takes to labor in the Word. I've seen your name here and there in the blogosphere, so I'm very glad to finally be landing on your site today! Much blessing to you. (#DancingWithJesus)

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    1. Kelly, thank you so much for sharing your heart with me. I will be praying for you during this difficult time. When you used the word, "trust" it reminded me of this verse Romans 8:24-25 from the Living Bible translation that means so much to me..."We are saved by trusting. And trusting means looking forward to getting something we don’t yet have—for a man who already has something doesn’t need to hope and trust that he will get it. But if we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently." Many blessings to you!

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  13. Knowing he is with us is a huge thing! Thanks for sharing this, Beth. This sentence of your prayer stuck out to me the most: "Thank You for Your promised presence with me today." Amen.

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    1. Lisa, I so appreciate you taking time to comment and select the sentence in my prayer that touched you most. Many blessings to you ❤️

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Sarah. I so agree with you, Tamara Peterson is such a talented artist! Many blessings to you!

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  15. I think this is my favorite post in this series so far. Reading all the different versions and ways of saying that He will never leave us or forsake us was so encouraging! Thank you so much for linking up at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com this week!
    Tina

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    1. Tina, thank you so much for your positive and encouraging comments...this was actually my first new post since I completed the 26 posts in January from our book, Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ. I do feel like this is how God is leading me these days with my posts--inspiring art and music and digging into His Word. Many blessings to you!

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