Lo you are with me
There are many of our Christian brothers and sisters who have tasted the cup of persecution in ways we in this time and culture would deem offensive for the Lord to allow us to endure. Many of us, unlike King David and other psalmists, have not descended to our lowest points where our situations resemble Sheol. I could harp on about the culture of comfort the West has created and how it has unfortunately created a monster of entitlement and misperception of God’s ultimate desires for us. However, the reality is that He promises to be with us regardless of the intensity of our Sheol experiences.
He seems to use our daily discomforts and pains to continuously point our souls to Him.
The extent of our persecution and discomforts will increase but He is training us now to remember that He is with us through it all. One of the greatest revelations the human heart can lay hold of is the truth that our God is with us. He is neither distant nor indifferent, He is also not passive nor aloof. Psalm chapter 139 verse 8 says “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.” We are reminded by the psalmist that in high and low seasons the promise of God’s presence is what we will always need.
Acquainted with depths
To whatever degree we have experienced hardship we are assured that Jesus is fully acquainted with it. His knowledge of this is not riveting and beautiful to the human heart solely because of His omniscience but it has life-changing effects because His knowledge is experiential. In the pivotal moment in Jesus’ life that acted as the prelude to the greatest suffering and greatest triumph, we see on full display the humanity of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. The agony to face Him came crashing down to his consciousness in a way and with a weight in which no human will ever experience. So, when we bring to Him our concerns and worries, He does not bring them up with indifference but with depth of empathy no one else could. We can be assured through the sacrifice of the cross that we are not alone but that He is with us because He experienced the depth of human suffering and pain.
Along with the promise of being with us and being our God in the depths, is His extravagant promise that He has already overcome. In John chapter 16 verse 33 Jesus says “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” We are blessed to have a Saviour who is not idealistically optimistic, He made known to us the reality and consistency of troubles and hardship in this age. That awareness gives so much context to the promise of His peace and to the declaration of His victory. If we appreciate that the troubles we face are in no way diminishing God’s existence we can grab on to His promises of peace and victory. We serve a God who has already overcome what the worst of this age brings.
Weapons in the depths
We are reminded throughout scripture to be deliberate in calling to mind God’s wondrous works and deeds and hard times are not exempt from those exhortations. In fact, we see repeatedly through the Psalms how the psalmists armed themselves with proper perspective of God by calling out to Him in their lowest moments. It is so important to remind our wandering hearts that He is very present in times of trouble, and practical ways to keep this truth at the forefront is by singing and meditating on the Word of God. Another tool we undermine is the beauty the believer has to commune with God through prayer.
Many times, we don’t converse with God because we have used our energies to behold and fixate on the nature of our dark times: when there is a perpetually opened invitation to talk with God through our fears, anxieties and frustrations. We rob ourselves of revelation, context, rest and peace when we converse with ourselves about the hardship rather than our God who is still very much God in hardship.
Jhonelle is a Jesus enthusiast and Christian youth leader. She’s a lover of all things related to discipleship and a freelance writer.