The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’ // Deut. 31:8
This is one of the first verses I ever memorized. I was working at a bible camp in northern Alberta, Canada for the summer. Each week I would have a whole new cabin full of boys and each week we would work through memorizing a bible verse a day to gain points for our cabin in hopes to be the overall winner of the camp that week. Deut 31:8 would be the first verse we would have to teach the kids and at this point in my life, I was terrible at memorizing anything.
Don't get me wrong, I could remember something long enough to recite it for a play or a test, but after I was done needing it, for the task at hand, I was done needing it at all. Maybe it was the purpose behind why I was memorizing, but it seemed to never stick. But, this verse did. It may have been the fact that every week in the summer I would be memorizing and reciting the words alongside the kids, or maybe the words just decided to stick in my head. Either way, this has been a verse that has stayed with me for over a decade now.
It is one of those verses you could claim as a life verse, something you come back to as a reminder of who God really is, in His true character. It is a reminder that not only is God a god who is outside of space and time and foresees all things, working all things out-- the good and bad, the evil and pure, distorted and innocent-- into something that at the end of all ages, will be weaved into something beautiful, whole, restored and purposeful. But, He is also a God that doesn't leave us on our own to figure it out... no He is a God that goes with us. He gets His hands dirty, gets right there beside us and walks with us, toils with us and in some cases, carries us through. As the author of Hebrews puts it:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to feel sympathy for our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way
See, even though God is so much greater and outside the reality of this cosmos and our comprehension, He chose to become one of us. To walk with us, be with us, be one of us, save us and show us the way home. He became the High Priest that deals with our sin and also the sacrifice that would pay for it ultimately. He chose LOVE, when He could have given judgement, because this is who He is. He would shame violence, death and sin by taking this violence, death and sin onto himself and ultimately dealt with it.
Jesus knew the plan from the start... He knew the beginning and the end because He is the beginning and the end. But, he doesn't simply leave us a road map and expect us to do it on our own. No, he wrote the way, is the way and came down, making the ultimate sacrifice and shows the way. Even when we feel most alone and desperate, we are not. Even when it seems that God is so far away and nowhere to be found, he is right there beside us, walking us through the valley, through the darkness--be it through His presence, His word, or His people. We are never alone.
Though you may not be able to trust your circumstances or even this world, you can trust Him and His character (even when you can't see it). See, He has already gone before you, He knows the path ahead and He will be with you. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. And when we look towards the skies of heaven, we can be reminded of the ultimate hope we have in the Cross and the person of Christ and never have to be afraid or discouraged. This doesn't mean life won't be hard or without it's challenges, and in some cases great tribulations. But we can be reminded, even when we least feel it, that God is right there beside us, guiding us through and calling us home--feeling every hurt and pain and struggle. And know that no matter what this current situation throws our way, it can never compare to what God is planning for us at the end of this crazy journey.
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