The Wonderful Boring Promise That God Is With Us

Familiarity is a funny thing. While knowing something well brings a sense of comfort and confidence, it can also cause you to overlook its significance. I think that’s especially true when it comes to God’s promises.

More from Chris O’Donnell:

We’ve heard them so many times before that we start to miss their meaning. What was intended to be a treasure has now become trite.

One of the most phenomenal promises God has given to His people is His presence. God is with us. God is with you. Does that cause your heart to soar or your mouth to yawn? I mean this is nothing new right?

The riches of this promise was more fully realized for me recently. It was like a precious jewel I knew I possessed but hadn’t truly cherished its value or beauty. Desperation has a way of helping you appreciate what you had previously taken for granted.

During a time of great difficulty, “God with me” became like the only buoy I could find in a raging sea of uncertainty. It was either cling to that divine float device like my life depended on it or be swept away by the sadness.

Here are some of the gems God revealed to me about the specific ways He is with us.

Perfectly – In a Way That Could Not Be Better

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. – Psalm 139:1

Since God is omniscient (all-knowing), there is nothing about your story He doesn’t know. There is no detail of your experience that has escaped His attention. In fact, He remembers with perfect clarity the things you’ve forgotten.

He knows your thoughts and the Lord knows your dreams. He knows the hairs on your head, which is pretty amazing since these days I’m shedding (Luke 12:7). He knows the next word you’ll speak, and the next thought that will pop into your head. He understands every pain you’ve ever felt and He knows your passions.

Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. – Psalm 139:4

The Lord reminded me of this one day when I was struggling in prayer and reading the Psalms (because when you’re a sobbing mess, that’s a great place to go).

As I looked down at the worn pages of my Bible, I noticed some yellowed and crinkled stains that were in the corner. I knew right away these were from previous tears I had cried. All dried up and forgotten about that faded memory. I wondered when they were from and what sort of dilemma I was going through at the time.

I have no clue as to why I shed them, but Jesus does! He knows precisely what those tears were for and the reason my soul was heavy that particular day (Psalm 56:8). God was there. He was with me.

At that moment, and every moment before and every moment to come, He is with me and He’s with you too. He’s never sleeping or not paying attention. God is never unavailable or absent. He’s never uninterested or aloof to you. He is always perfectly present. Always. You are never alone, friend, not for one single moment.

Perceptually – In a Way That Understands By Using the Senses

You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. – Psalm 139:2-3

God knows more than just facts and information about you. He understands you. He gets what you’re going through at every moment. That’s because you have a Savior that put on human flesh and experienced the human condition. He knows personally what it’s like to live in a fallen world and what it means to suffer.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. – Hebrews 4:15

The word “sympathize” in this passage means to be affected by the same feeling as another, to feel for, have compassion on another individual.

He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities in such a manner as none else can be; for he was himself tried with all the afflictions and troubles that are incident to our nature in its fallen state: and this not only that he might be able to satisfy for us, but to sympathize with us. – Matthew Henry

Jesus is with you in a way that not just knows about the details of your life, but understands you better than anyone – even yourself. He has compassion for you and invites you to come to him with your neediness (Matthew 11:28).

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16

He knows and he understands. Oh, what a Savior!

Perpetually – In a Way That Never Ends or Changes

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? – Psalm 139:7

God is with you in an ongoing, continual manner. His abiding presence with you will never change. There is no place you can go that He will not be there with you.

Ok, so just stop for a second and meditate on that fact. There’s not another human in all of creation you can say this about, and it is true. No person can be with you at all times, in all ways for all eternity.

And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age. – Matthew 28:20

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. – Hebrews 13:5

He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. – Proverbs 18:24

Providentially – In the Way of Divine Care and Direction

Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. – Psalm 139:10

God’s care and guidance in your life are not haphazard or arbitrary. It’s purposeful. Determined. He is with you to bring about His plan for your life. You can’t mess it up. That’s impossible (Job 42:2)!

You don’t have to worry or fret that you’ll somehow miss His will for you. We already know what that is for every Christian anyway – to make you more like Jesus (Romans 8:29). Now I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t choose wise, well thought out decisions. You are 100% responsible for your choices and should want to do what is good and right.

But even when you do something dumb and make a mistake, God promises to use that redemptively in the story He’s writing for your life (Romans 8:28). He is guiding your steps and establishing your way (Proverbs 16:9).

His providence will get you where you need to go and will supply what you need along the way (Philippians 4:19).

Powerfully – In a Way That Only He Is Able and Strong

Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. – Psalm 139:12

God sent his Spirit to reside in every believer. He has given you a fantastic gift of the indwelling Spirit of the Living God. He’s not just with you; He’s in you, friend!

That means His Spirit provides everything you need to live a life of obedience and faith (2 Peter 1:3). As you look to him, He will guide you into all truth, so you don’t have to wonder and wander through life aimlessly (John 16:13). His abiding presence in you sets you apart as His own and guarantees what is to come – your inheritance as a Saint (Ephesians 1:13-14, 18).

And this isn’t just any old power. What I’m talking about is the omnipotent power of the Highest God. In fact, God’s power is so great that it seems Paul had a hard time describing it. He says it is “incomparably great” (Ephesians 1:19).

In other words, it’s so far beyond anything you can know or comprehend that there’s no way of comparing it to anything else. You see the most magnificent demonstration of God’s power in the resurrection of Christ. The mighty strength God exerted to perform the most miraculous event in history is also “for us who believe.”

Because of this, you are not at the mercy of your evil desires (Romans 6:6-7). Since you are now joined together with Christ, you don’t have to live a life bound by fear and sin. God’s mighty, resurrecting, life-giving, life-changing, omnipotent power is available for you.

Protectively – In a Way to Defend or Guard Against Attack

You hem me in behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. – Psalm 139:5

God’s protective presence with you at all times should bring reassurance and comfort to your fearful and anxious heart. He promises not merely to accompany you but to protect you as His child. Nothing can separate you from God and nobody can snatch you away from Him (John 10:28-29, Romans 8:38-39).

At the end of Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he says that God will protect him from every evil attack (2 Timothy 4:18). Now Paul was not insinuating he would not suffer harm. We know that’s not the case because in the third chapter he says this:

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. – 2 Timothy 3:12

Suffering is a part of the human condition and our spiritual calling. So what does it mean then when Paul says that God would protect him from every evil attack?

The word protect in this verse means: to draw to one’s self, to rescue, to deliver. God wasn’t promising to keep Paul from all physical harm but to bring about His purposes for his life. The Lords protective presence was going to deliver Paul to his home in heaven one day safely.

God will rescue you too and safely bring you to be with Him, dear believer, not just in Spirit, but in person, face to face. This promise is the ultimate hope for God’s people. He promises to complete his excellent work in each of us and bring us to be with him forever (Philippians 1:6).

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” – Revelation 21:3

Wrapping It Up

So, what does all this mean for your life today? How does “God with you” make a difference in your daily dilemmas? I’d like you to consider these questions:

  1. What situation in your life do you feel all alone and like no one understands? How does knowing God’s compassion for you in your weakness bring you comfort?
  2. How does God’s providence help you think about your past hurts? Your present trials? The sins others have committed against you? The sins you’ve committed against others?
  3. How is God’s power enabling you to resist your sinful strongholds?
  4. What fearful thoughts control you more than God? How can His protective presence help you trust Him more?
  5. When are you most tempted to believe God is not with you? What self-talk is going on in your mind at the moment? How can these promises be applied to your thinking?
  6. Do you struggle with making decisions? Do you often second guess yourself? How can this teaching relieve your worries?

With a subject this phenomenal, I feel like I’m barely scratching the scratch of the surface. “God with us” is so magnificent and mind-blowing that no article could contain all of its priceless treasures.

And while it may be a familiar truth to us, there shouldn’t be anything dull or ordinary about it! It is the absolute assurance that you need more than you realize, especially when you find yourself in a raging sea of turmoil and pain.

God is with you dear brother and sister. Cling to that promise. Meditate on it. Believe it. Rejoice in it. Cry out to remember it always. I pray this truth would permeate every area of your life and give you the steadfast hope that you will only find in Christ. He is Immanuel. He is God with us.

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