I will always be with you, even until the end of the world. — Matthew 28:20
All the rungs of a ladder are important if you want to get to the top. Depending on where we are in the climb, any one of them might be “most important.”
Last week, we looked at the crucial need for endurance, and now I’m thinking about the next step up from there. Without the Lord’s help, if he’s not with me all the time, I don’t think I could make it.
I would never make it alone.
When the going gets tough, we need a best friend.
I once read extensive research to discover why great historical figures like Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington Carver were successful while the geniuses and highly-talented people accomplished little. What was the secret?
Two factors were universally true:
(1) Each person had faced unbelievable challenges in life.
(2) They all had one special person who believed in them, encouraged them, and supported them while others said they would never amount to anything.
Tough times are normal.
I’m told that I shouldn’t be surprised when I face terrible ordeals, as if that’s something unusual (1 Peter 4:12). If it’s something to be expected, why is everyone at church smiling while I feel more like crying?
I might think I’m the only one suffering, the only one not being abundantly blessed, but it’s really not that way. Are people being hypocritical? Maybe, but I hope the everything-is-all-right look is because we’re seeing past the present conditions, showing our excitement for what God has planned for us.
God’s plan trumps people’s opinions.
If God is for me, who can be against me (Romans 8:31)? Answer: “a whole bunch of people.” Since discouragers seem to outnumber the encouagers, I should be careful who I listen to.
My own self-talk can be my worst enemy.
How easily I can say, “I can’t,” and that would be true if I had to make it on my own. If I am to succeed, I desperately need God’s help (Philippians 4:13).
We need God to do what we know is impossible.
I wonder how close Moses was to refusing God’s call to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt. He wasn’t easy to convince. The burning bush that wasn’t consumed was enough to get his attention, but he knew God was asking the impossible (Exodus 3:11). Both the Egyptians and the Jews had reasons to hate him. After the miracle when his staff turned into a snake (Exodus 4:1–5), Moses agreed to go, but only when he was spared the responsibility of being God’s spokesman (Exodus 4:14).
While hiding from the Mideonites, Gideon couldn’t believe he could lead an army to victory, not until he saw the proof in two miracles (Judges 6:11–17).
To ignore God’s call to do what my own effort could not possibly produce, all I have to do is miss the signs and what God is saying to my heart.
To accept his call, I should remember why Moses and Gideon finally agreed to follow his direction. What was that? God promised to go with them. They would not be alone.
God’s presence assures us of his power for something miraculous in our lives.
Before God made his presence known on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples met behind closed doors, fearing for their lives. But afterward, they acquired a boldness that the religious leaders couldn’t explain until they realized that these men had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).
Self-confidence has its value, but God-confidence means much more. That was the difference between Peter sinking in the waves after stepping out versus walking on the water with Jesus as he returned to the boat (Matthew 14:30–33).
His promise demands our walking with him.
Unless two people are on the same path, they cannot walk together (Amos 3:3). I can’t speak for everybody else, but I’ve not done well at getting God to go my way. I’m happy with that, because his way has to be superior to mine.
I’m much better off listening carefully and doing my best to follow his guidance than to expect him to follow me, which explains why most of my prayers seek to know his will rather than to give me what I want.
Don’t be greedy, wanting what others have, but be content with whatever God provides, for he has said he will never leave us. He will never forsake us as orphans. — Hebrews 13:5