For He Himself has said: "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
Travis and Rachel awoke one morning to a fiery inferno. Their house was on fire. Rachel’s parents lived close by and when they arrived, her mother told them to jump out of their second story window. Rachel was thirty-six weeks pregnant. She was able to get out but by that time, the fire had reached the window and Travis opted to run back through the house trying to escape. When he got outside, Rachel’s parents were pulling her unconscious body to safety. Feeling his skin burning, he immediately ran to their house next door and into their shower.
When they got to the hospital, it was discovered that Rachel had suffered a brain bleed from a fractured skull and third degree burns from her legs to her torso. Doctors decided to do an emergency C-section to remove her baby. Fortunately, the baby was fine. Travis, on the other hand, had to undergo emergency surgery for the extensive burns he had sustained. Doctors were able to stop Rachel’s brain bleed and so saved her life. They both underwent various surgeries to address their injuries - Travis, three and Rachel, five. Their recovery process was a painful one and Rachel had to undergo therapy because of the extent and location of her burns. She had been in the hospital for twenty-nine days and one of her surgeons told her that her healing was where it should have been at four and a half months!
Travis realised that it was a miracle they had survived considering the intensity of the fire which destroyed their home. He acknowledges that God truly stepped in and by His grace saved them. Only a bible, a photo and the shirt Rachel was baptized in, survived the fire. These were framed. They truly believe that God delivered them so that they could share His goodness to the world. They don’t see it as their story but as an opportunity for them to share who God is as well as His goodness and faithfulness through what they went through.
The three Hebrew boys, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, in the book of Daniel come to my mind (Daniel 3). In their case, they refused to bow to a golden image set up by king Nebuchadnezzar. As a result, they were bound and thrown into a fiery furnace. While there, God stepped in and when the king looked he was amazed to see the three boys, free of their bonds, and in the company of a fourth man whom he described as looking like the Son of God. When they were told to come out of the furnace, they were completely untouched by the fire. As a result, the king blessed the God of these three boys, acknowledging that there was no other god who could deliver like Him. At the end of the day, the true and living God got the glory and showed Himself as God above all others!
Just like the three Hebrew boys, Travis and Rachel went through a fiery experience, but God delivered them. They did experience burns and discomfort and pain, but what God did for them and through them was as amazing as what He did for the three Hebrew boys. Rachel was still able to birth a perfectly healthy baby girl who was totally untouched by what her parents had been through and during their healing process, God came through for them time and again.
Many have been and some are still going through fiery trials and, like Travis and Rachel, the season is a difficult and painful one. Yet, God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He could have prevented the fire but He did not. The reality is, we will not have a testimony if we don’t go through some fires. We won’t know or fully experience God’s goodness and faithfulness if we don’t go through difficult times. We won’t know comfort unless we experience pain or tragedy. We won’t know strength unless we experience hopelessness and weakness. The enemy may send challenges to destroy us but God allows them to enable us to see who He really is and to tell others about His goodness.
So, be encouraged. God is still a present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). He has not left or forsaken you and He never will. Just trust Him.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. God is not untouched by what we go through. He does care and allows both good and bad in our lives to show His goodness and faithfulness to us. In turn we get the opportunity to share our experience and be an encouragement to others.
Gail, an associate pastor, was actively involved in ministry overseeing the church’s food pantry and leading global missions trips. One day, after helping unload one of their trucks, she jumped down from the truck and damaged her right knee. When she visited the doctor, she was advised to use hot and cold packs. She did not want to undergo surgery so, for the next ten years, she was content to use over-the-counter drugs and a knee brace. This enabled her to continue her volunteer work at the church even though it took her a longer time to get things done.
Gail continued praying for healing so that she could continue doing what she wanted to do for the Lord. By the end of 2022, at the age of 81, Gail accepted her situation, believing that things might not change. She was getting older and decided that she would have to live with it especially since she had asked God a number of times for healing and she had not been healed.
On the night of December 30th of that same year, she returned home exhausted from a full day at the church. She was watching christian television when she heard a word of knowledge about someone with problems with their right knee. She believed that she was that person and began moving about, as instructed, doing what she could not do before. The pain was gone! She began praising the Lord thanking Him for healing her.
Six months later, she went to the Middle East on vacation. They had to do a lot of walking and she believed that she would not have been able to do that much walking if God had not healed her. God had healed her just in time for that trip! The delay in her healing meant more to her because had God healed her the first time she prayed for it, she would not have kept on praying and believing.
What I like about this story is that God is not hindered by our age or time. We may be concerned with the fact that we are getting older and we may wonder when God is going to fulfil certain things in our life. Gail’s testimony, is a reminder that once we are alive, and no matter what age we are, God is able to do great things in and through us. It may take a few minutes to get some things done or it may take many years but God’s timing is not ours. For Him, one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day (2 Peter 3:8). His Word also says: “At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen” (Isaiah 60:22).
Furthermore, as much as we don’t like delay, what may seem like a delay to us, God sees it as perfect timing. The things that He is teaching us while we wait may be even more important to Him than giving us what we ask for when we ask for it. With God, there will always be a bigger picture.
It’s about trusting God, trusting that He knows what is best, trusting that He has our back and that He will never do anything to intentionally harm or discourage us. If we have to go through our situation longer than we had hoped, He will give us the grace and strength needed to make it through. We can still have hope, we can still be encouraged, we can certainly still have peace, even though things are not what we would like them to be according to our timing. God will never leave us in a situation uncovered.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. We all have set times for when we would like certain things to take place. Yet, in God’s perfect timing, everything will fall into place exactly as they should and when they should. God is never late, His timing is always perfect and He is quite able to use what we see as a delay, to do beautiful things in and through us. Be encouraged!
I was inspired by the story of Sydney, an American Olympic Gold medalist, who, for years, struggled with anxiety and fear as she battled with the need to be perfect.
Sydney started running when she was only six years old. While in high school, she performed well and became one of the top hurdlers in the country. At the age of sixteen, she qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. However, in spite of her success, she struggled with anxiety and fear. She felt that this was borne out of her need to be perfect in everything. She unfortunately did not medal at this Olympic Games and returned home to critical comments on her failure to receive a medal. From that point on she realised that she had to deal with the fear because she did not want to go on living the way she was.
Her failure to win first place in any race proved difficult for her. At the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in 2019, she placed second. She was devastated. Although she grew up in a Christian home, she never truly trusted God. These failures forced her to cry out to Him. She realised and acknowledged to Him that He was the only One who could help her deal with the anxiety and fear.
During Covid-19, she took the time to seek God. She discovered through the lens of His Word that she herself had nothing to offer Him but that the righteousness of Jesus covering her life is what is presentable before Him.
At the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, with a new focus on God, she finally succeeded in achieving gold medals in the 4x400 relay and the 400 metre hurdles. She has learned that God has not failed her and that even when she may lose she still wins because she is able to learn from the experience. She used to cross the finish line and feel empty inside but now she has joy no matter the circumstances. She is now running with a new purpose, a new goal and the goal is not to win a gold medal but to run the race of the christian life well. It’s about setting her mind on things above and wanting to honour God.
Many of us can probably identify with the fear and anxiety that Sydney felt. In different areas of our lives we may feel the need to be perfect, believing that perfection equals success. However, as Sydney learned, true success is found in Christ and in a relationship with Him. He does not expect us to be perfect. In fact, He willingly works with us to help us become someone we can be proud of, someone who honours God in both failures and successes.
Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us to run the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. We can’t run this race alone, we were never meant to. God has promised to be with us every step of the way. He is the only One who can help us to truly succeed - not according to the world’s standards but His.
Jesus chose twelve disciples and none of them were perfect and none of them would have been chosen by human standards. Yet, Jesus chose them because of purpose, His purpose for each of them. God does not need or choose perfect people - there are none anyway. He chooses willing hearts desirous of pleasing Him; He chooses according to what He has planned for each of us.
I believe that Sydney discovered that God’s standards were a lot less stressful than her own and that she did not have to do life on her own. He would be with her every step of the way to help when needed. That’s a powerful and liberating lesson to learn. God loves us just as we are and is able to do beautiful and powerful things in and through us … just as we are. He is not looking for perfection, just a heart willing to please Him.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. We don’t have to be anxious about not having it all together. God loves us in spite of our shortcomings and failures. He doesn’t expect from us what He knows we cannot give. He only wants us to hand it all over to Him and watch how, with His help, we can live a life of peace, joy and fulfilment in spite of our limitations.
As a young girl, Leslie’s life was filled with abuse, rejection and violence. She became angry at God because He didn’t stop the abuse. At the age of fifteen, she was kidnapped by her boyfriend, an older man, and forced into sex trafficking. She was told that if she tried to get out, various members of her family including herself would be killed. She reached the point of taking pills to numb her pain.
When her pimp was arrested ten years later, she continued prostituting herself. She went on to harder drugs and became addicted to crack cocaine. She simply wanted the pain to stop since the older she got the stronger the pain became. She finally tried to end her life by taking pills with alcohol. As she felt herself dying, she cried out to God and felt something hug her tightly. She saw it as the hug she never got as a child. At that point, she realised that God was real and that He cared.
The next day she enrolled in a thirty-day detox centre and was able to stop using drugs. She then went to a Christian women’s shelter where she spent the next year learning from the Bible about her identity and purpose and how to love herself. She learned her purpose was to take care of other people so she got involved in home health care. While there, one of her patients who had Alzheimer’s disease and who never spoke, unexpectedly told her one day that she had to pray for them. She knew exactly what she meant. She had to forgive those who had hurt her in order to release herself. She also had to ask God for forgiveness.
She has gone on to help other women by launching a program for sexually exploited women. She realises that God allowed her to go through all that she went through so that she could in turn help other women get out. She is now married and understands who she is. As she put it: “When I look in the mirror I see a powerful woman of God. I see a warrior, I see a fighter, I see me, and I know who I am.
I love this story because it speaks of the fight that we all go through at some point in time or another. The fight may not be the same as Leslie’s but it’s a battle nonetheless that seems overwhelming and may cause us to feel trapped. We may even wonder: “How long Lord?” as the battle may seem never-ending.
In Psalm 13:1 David says: “How long Oh Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” Sometimes we may feel that God is taking a long time to answer. We may even resort to other sources of help in our desperation. I like the fact that Leslie said that God allowed her to go through so that she could help others get out. Maybe God even allowed her to go through for as long as she did so that, as she put it, she could understand the fight and so be able to help others. When we go through we are in a better position to help others. Our fight, our negative situation is not in vain. It has a purpose. Her fight also helped her understand her identity. It taught her that she might be knocked down many times but not knocked out. With God’s help she understood and appreciated who she is and that God does indeed care.
Whatever you might be going through, your fight has a purpose, you have a purpose. The enemy may mean for it to destroy you but God will use it to strengthen you and define you, to make you into a powerful vessel He can use for His honour and glory.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. There is no battle or challenge that you will face that God will not enable you to handle. No matter how long it takes, God will answer and He will use that battle for good, to fulfil His purpose for your life.
Sophie and her husband, Joe, desired a large family. However, she discovered she had stage four endometriosis, a disease in the uterus which causes cysts, scar tissue and infertility. She would have this disease her entire life. They were devastated. She had laparoscopic surgery to remove the cysts. This would help make pregnancy a possibility. The surgery was successful. Four months later, Sophie became pregnant and gave birth to a son. The entire pregnancy and process were uneventful.
They attempted a second pregnancy but were faced with a series of miscarriages. When they returned to her doctor for an exam, they discovered that the endometriosis had returned and was worse than before. She now had cysts and a blocked fallopian tube which would make pregnancy impossible. She was disappointed. She went before God and gave the problem to Him. Her focus now shifted and her desire for God and what He wanted became greater than her desire for a large family.
They planned to have in vitro fertilisation done. This would require the removal of her fallopian tubes thus preventing her from being able to become pregnant naturally. They requested prayer from friends and family.
At this time, a friend shared with her a dream she had had. In this dream both Sophie and her sister were pregnant at the same time. This dream gave Sophie hope and she felt that maybe the IVF would work the first time and she and her sister would indeed be pregnant together.
They went ahead and scheduled an appointment to have the procedure done. However, the night before, Sophie felt the urge to do a pregnancy test. She had had many failed tests and expected this one to be negative as well but she just wanted to rule out the possibility. She was shocked when the test was positive.
At the next ultrasound, the doctor reported that everything was okay and normal. The cysts were gone! Months later Sophie delivered a healthy baby girl.
The main point of focus for me is the fact that, when met with intense disappointment a second time around, Sophie finally handed over the problem to God and chose to let His will become her own. She still wanted more children but chose to have a greater desire for God’s ultimate will and purpose for her life. I believe this is when the shift in her circumstances took place even though she did not know it at the time.
Just like Sophie, I believe that God wants us to desire Him more than our own desires. It isn’t that He doesn’t want to give us what we desire, but He doesn’t want our desire to become more important than our desire for Him; He doesn’t want our desires to become an idol in our lives and replace Him, the One true and living God. Sadly, without realising it, many times that does happen and we find ourselves frustrated when things don’t seem to be working out our way. Maybe what God is looking for is a shift in our focus. When He becomes our main desire and focus, when we can reach the point where if we don’t get what we want, we would still love Him anyway, we would still serve Him with all our heart anyway, I believe that is where our true victory will come. It is not about getting what we want as much as it is about being within His perfect plan, purpose and will for our lives. God will never give us anything less than His best. And, maybe, when we give God our greatest desires, He will give us in turn more than we could ever hope, dream or ask for. Sometimes we lose when we hold on but we gain when we let go, releasing it into God’s capable hands.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. You will never lose when you give to God. He will always ensure that when you do, He will give His very best to you.
Rachel struggled with anxiety and depression as a child. It got so bad that at times she resorted to cutting. She rededicated her life to Christ in college and after graduating, met and married Steve, a police officer. The anxiety and depression seemed a thing of the past and she moved on with her life.
However, years later the old feelings surfaced. She was now a seminary student, a mother and an ICU nurse. She was taking care of a brain dead teenager who had tried to commit suicide. One day while taking care of her, she heard the words, “That should be me.” Unfortunately, she believed those words and as she looked at her, she remembered all the times she had cut herself and she steadily slipped back into depression.
She went to her doctor for help but she did not receive the help she needed. Instead, her depression and anxiety increased. To those around her she seemed fine. Her husband, Steve, however, realised the battle she was going through but he felt incapable of helping her. Sadly, she reached the point where she felt that her young son would be better off without her.
Her most terrifying moment, however, came when, one day, while lying in bed, she had a vision of herself standing by her bedroom window holding her husband’s gun to her head. What scared her was the fact that she felt safe as she truly believed that that was her way out. Afterwards, she begged her husband to hide all of his guns. At this point, realising how bad things had really become, they both cried out to God for His help.
Hours later, God sent help in the form of one of her former seminary professors who was at the time serving as a military chaplain in Africa. He had felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to pray for her and her husband and sent her an email letting her know he was doing just that. He also called them that day and spoke with them. Her husband felt that this was the turning point they had been waiting for. Rachel immediately knew that God sees her, He cares for her and He had sent her help. They were counselled and encouraged over the next three months and Rachel learned how to take God’s Word as truth. Today, she no longer identifies herself with depression and anxiety. She knows she is a child of God.
One of things that stands out in Rachel’s testimony is her realisation that God’s Word is truth. In other words, His Word would not fail her. Once she changed out the negative words in her mind for God’s Word, His Word became the truth she needed to stand on. His Word did not feed and nurture her depression and anxiety, rather, it stripped it of its power and hold over her life and set her free. God’s Word proved to be a powerful weapon needed to fight against depression and anxiety.
I am reminded of the story of the centurion in Matthew 8:5-13. His servant was sick so he went to Jesus for help. When Jesus offered to come to his house to heal him, he restrained Him saying that he was not worthy that Jesus should come to his home. Instead, he asked Jesus to simply speak the word and his servant would be healed. Jesus marvelled at his faith. So do I, because he believed that Jesus did not need to come and lay hands on his servant, all He had to do was “speak” and the healing would be released. He, too, seemed to understand God’s Word as truth.
I am also reminded that God’s Word defines who we are. Our identity does not come from our challenges or from what people say about us or from the lies we may believe about ourselves. If God says we are blessed (Ephesians 1:3), we are blessed no matter how “unblessed” we may look to others or feel. If God’s Word says we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), it matters not who believes it or not, we are. If God’s Word says we are chosen (Ephesians 1:4) and accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6), rejection does not define us no matter who may reject us.
God’s Word is forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89) and He is watching over His Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). It cannot return to Him void but must accomplish what He sends it to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11). I encourage you to know what God’s Word says about you and know what it is saying to you. God cannot lie and His Word has the power to turn around any situation that may come your way.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. Trust in God’s Word. His Word can encourage, heal, deliver, redefine you.
Brenda went for a routine mammogram and was shocked to learn that she had triple negative breast cancer. She and her family were devastated. When Brenda decided to seek a second opinion, she was surprised when the doctor told her that the Saviour is the Healer, man is not, man is just the vessel. She went on to encourage her to put her hope in Jesus, He had already died on the cross for her and they needed to start thanking Him for her healing. These words gave Brenda hope.
Brenda went on to prepare for the chemotherapy treatments and cut her hair because she did not want to see it falling out. Her son who was filming her journey, also filmed her “hair cutting party” which she decided should be posted online to allow others to be a part of the journey. The response was amazing and many reached out to her and prayed for her.
After her first treatment, Brenda knew she was healed. During the treatment she felt a sharp strike to the area where the spot had been found on her breast bone. Immediately she knew she was healed and declared it.
She went for an ultrasound and spent a long time there because they could no longer find the mass. Brenda had chosen to put her trust in God and be His vessel and He did not disappoint her.
Brenda, like many of us, faced a battle that was way bigger than her. She and her family were afraid, they were devastated but they trusted God to do something big for them. Brenda chose to go through the chemotherapy treatments but decided that one way to beat this cancer would be to take her own hair before the treatments could take it for her. She chose to fight, she chose not to lie down and die in her situation. She also chose to put the battle in God’s hands. She chose to be His vessel and let Him handle the problem for her.
Ever so often when I go through my own battles, God reminds me that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit - I am His vessel! With that reminder, I am usually encouraged and even find myself reaching out to His Holy Spirit, asking Him to take care of His temple. I acknowledge that I need His help and I expect Him to do what I can’t.
As children of God, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). It’s an even greater reminder that we are not alone when facing difficulties and that God is right there, residing in us, willing to help when needed. When you put it in that context, you realise how much the battle is truly the Lord’s no matter what comes our way. God will never leave us alone to fight battles on our own when our very bodies belong to and were created by Him. It’s as if He is obligated to step in and lend assistance because He is fighting for what belongs to Him!
Psalm 139 says: “For you created my inmost being, You knit me together in my mother’s womb…My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth” (vv. 13-15). These verses speak to me about God’s intimacy with us. Nothing about us is hidden from Him! He created us and He knows exactly how to fix us … however He chooses!
Whatever you may be facing today, trust that God is more concerned about your situation than you can imagine. God created you and me and has a plan and purpose for each of His creation. He knows what will come our way before we do and is ready and equipped to help us through.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. God, your Creator, is very much interested in you. When you put your trust in Him, the One who knows you intimately, you can be confident that nothing that comes your way is too big for Him to handle. When you can’t, God certainly can!
Kelly was one of five survivors of a plane crash in January 1982. At the time, she was a young, carefree flight attendant and believed she was in control of her life and free to live as she pleased.
On that fateful day, as the plane took off with seventy-nine people on board, the plane began to shake. One of the passengers looked at her worriedly but she shrugged her shoulders as if it were nothing. However, the plane failed to climb and instead crashed into a bridge and plunged into the icy waters below. In a matter of minutes, Kelly emerged from the wreckage and held on to the tail of the plane. She battled hypothermia as she waited to be rescued. She truly believed that this was the day she was going to die. She felt as if God was watching it all but didn’t believe He would help her as she instinctively knew that she had not been living a godly life. Twenty-eight minutes later she was pulled safely from the icy waters to shore.
When she got to the hospital, she knew that God had heard her and was aware of her. She tried to pray but her prayers were more of an apology that she didn’t know how to pray. A nurse came to her and gave her the answers she needed. She prayed to receive Jesus into her life and it brought her peace during her time of turmoil. She longed to know how to live as a Christian and the next day a stranger sent her a Bible in the mail with instructions to begin reading the book of John. She believed that God is a personal God and that He was personalising this experience just for her. She believed that God would help her to serve Him, she did not have to do it on her own. Her peace came when she realised God was in control, the same control she always wanted to have. Today, she is married with children and grandchildren and thankful that God has given her a second chance.
When Kelly boarded the plane on that fateful day, she had no idea that her life was about to dramatically change. She expected to arrive safely at her destination as had happened many times before. What she expected, however, never materialised. Like Kelly, we don’t know what the future holds for us. We may have expectations, even hopes and dreams that we hope will become a reality. The thing is, only God knows our future. The Word of God says: “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).
As this new year begins, we have no idea what the future holds but this we know that our times are in God’s hands (Psalm 31:15a). And if our life is in His hands, no matter what comes our way, He has it all taken care of. Kelly had to realise that God was in control and when she relinquished her control to Him, no matter what came her way, God had her covered. God’s Word also says: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) Another translation of that verse says: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (NKJV).
We don’t know what this new year has in store for us, but we do know that once our life is in God’s hands, we are covered. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He will be with us every step of the way. That means that no matter what comes our way - good or bad - God will be with us and enable us to make it through. We can choose to worry or we can choose to trust … the choice is ours!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. When you choose to hand over the control of your life to God, you can be confident that because your uncertain future is in His hands, He will ensure that all things - both good and bad - work out just for your good!
As I look back over this past year, I thank God for taking me through every bit of it. I was never alone. I think that is the key takeaway for me for this year - God was with me every step of the way.
I learned so many lessons along the way, but through it all one of the things that gave me strength especially in tough times was knowing that I was never alone in any of it. God was always right there with me - whether I could feel Him or not - guiding me, strengthening me, keeping me.
Last week, I briefly mentioned a song sung by Travis Greene and Steffany Gretzinger entitled: “Good and Loved.” That song had been playing in my mind for some days and I was reminded and encouraged by the fact that because God is good, I am loved. When you think about it, that is a source of comfort because it means that you and I don’t have to do anything to be loved by God. We don’t have to be good, we don’t have to have it all together. We can come to Him just as we are and He will love us no matter what.
I think of the birth and death of Jesus. God did not come in the form of flesh because we were good enough or worthy enough. In fact, the Bible says: “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Jesus came in the form of flesh to die! He did not come to have a good time here on earth. He was born so that He could die in order to give us the gift of salvation! We celebrate Christmas, yet, the reality of what we celebrate is wrapped up in the fact that God sacrificed His best so that we could ultimately live! That’s how good God is. His goodness is all wrapped up in His love for us. I don’t think you can separate the two.
One of the verses of the song says:
There’ll be times when you’re up
And times when you’re down
I’m never too far
Just look around and you’ll find me
I’m by your side, arms open wide
I am good you are loved…
God’s constant presence is proof of His love for us. He is never far away. He’s always there just waiting and looking for an opportunity to come to our aid if we need it. We don’t even have to ask, God knows what we want and need before we ask for it.
I recall the story in the Bible of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17). She had lost her husband and had now also lost her son, the one responsible for providing the support she so desperately needed. She never uttered a word of request to Jesus. In fact, He was the One who saw her pain and was filled with compassion for her. He made the choice to raise her son back to life. He made the choice to help her in her time of need! It was His goodness, His compassion, His love for us that moved Him to help someone who had not even asked for His help.
I believe God does the same for us everyday. Everyday He chooses to give us life whether we ask for it or not; He chooses to supply needs; He chooses to save, to deliver, to heal, to do more sometimes than what we ask for. He chooses to be God, He chooses to be good and to show love even though we don’t deserve it. It’s not about us. It’s about Him.
So, I invite you to look back over the past year and remember God’s goodness and love towards you even when you did not deserve it. Give Him thanks and show Him appreciation for all that He has done. He may not have given you everything you wanted or asked for, but He certainly gave you what you needed. He is still good and you are loved!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. God loves you no matter what. His love is not dependent on you but on His choice to love you … just as you are.
In 2017, while preparing for an event at work, 23 year old Evan, a cross fit coach, felt sick and within seconds collapsed. His co-worker tried to perform CPR and his family were alerted. His family expected it to be a minor problem but when doctors examined him they found out that he had gone into sudden cardiac arrest. While trying to stabilise his heart, he coded three times. His heart was only functioning at ten percent. Doctors did not have the confidence that they could save his life.
The doctor encouraged the family to pray. They called as many people as they could and soon the waiting room was filled with people. Evan survived through the night but unfortunately his organs were shutting down. One of his sisters went to the bathroom and as she cried out to God she told Him that if He needed to take Evan, He was still good! The doctor decided that he should be transferred to another hospital to increase his chances of survival. Evan started showing signs of improvement. His organs started working again. The family sent out a report on Facebook about his progress and encouraged people to continue praying. By that night, his organs were better. He had gone from a zero percent chance of survival to organs that were functioning well. On top of that, his heart went from functioning at ten percent to thirty percent.
After three days Evan showed signs of brain activity and a few days later the doctor reported that his heart was almost completely back to normal as if nothing had happened. Doctors could not understand it. Two weeks later, Evan returned home, just in time for Christmas. That was the best Christmas they ever had.
Today Evan is working and in college and shows no sign of heart issues. His faith and confidence in God have increased. He is able to see that God indeed does miracles, that He has plan for his life and that He controls a lot more than Evan thinks He does.
I am always moved by these testimonies of healing and miracles. I love the reminder that prayer is indeed a powerful tool and that God does desire the best for us. But, what caught my attention among other things is what Evan’s sister told God - that if He needed to take Evan, He (God) was still good. I believe it is important to allow God to have His way in our lives. Yes, we want things, we want Him to answer many times in a particular way. Jesus too prayed that God would spare Him having to go the cross yet, He added, “Not My will but Thine be done” (Luke 22:42). Even Jesus had desires in His heart but allowed His Heavenly Father to have the final say. Jesus set the perfect example for us to follow!
That statement also tells us something important - no matter the final outcome, God is still good! He’s not only good when we get our way, He is still good when we don’t. The reality is we were created to serve God, not ourselves. That does not mean that we can’t or should not have our own desires but we should be willing to give up our desires, our will, in exchange for His perfect plan and will for our lives.
God. Is. Good! There is a song sung by Travis Greene and Steffany Gretzinger that says: “I am good, you are loved.” Simply put, because God is good, we are loved, we are secure, He has our backs. Our goodness can never carry us as far as His goodness carries us. God is good and He is still God all by Himself! So today, no matter what you are facing, no matter how trying, no matter how impossible it seems, remember: God. Is. Good!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. God is good and because He is good, He loves us and has a perfect plan for our lives. He will never fail us and will always be there for us no matter what!
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.