God is Near All the Time

“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7)

A little boy was eagerly looking forward to the birthday party of a friend who lived only a few blocks away. When the day finally arrived, a blizzard made the sidewalks and roads nearly impassable. The lad's father, sensing the danger, hesitated to let his son go. The youngster reacted tearfully. "But dad," he pleaded, "all the other kids will be there. Their parents are letting them go." The father thought for a moment, and then replied softly, "All right, you may go." Surprised but overjoyed, the boy bundled up and plunged into the raging storm. The driving snow made visibility almost impossible, and it took him more than half an hour to trudge the short distance to the party. As he rang the doorbell, he turned briefly to look out into the storm. His eye caught the shadow of a retreating figure. It was his father. He had followed his son's every step to make sure he arrived safely.

Do you recall seasons in your life where God seemed distant and far off? Most of us can. We somehow trudged through and stumbled along to the next thing. We remember some things that went through our minds, like Where was God during this time, and why couldn’t I sense His presence? During these seasons, we think of earlier days, better times, when God’s smile seemed to shine on us. But now we faced the future alone. Or so we thought.

The Bible teaches that God is not very far off from us (Acts 17:27), especially if we are His children (Hebrews 13:5). If true faith resides in us, it will be tried. God tries us by leading us through difficult times, and trying days. The Bible calls this “chastisement” (Hebrews 12:5-11). But does God completely withdraw Himself? Quite the contrary; His leading us through treacherous waters demonstrates His nearness, not His aloofness. We must not interpret God’s smile upon us as freeing us from the rigors of spiritual testing. If God allowed nothing but prosperous days, what impact would that have on our faith and spiritual life? We would, of course, cool off in our love for Him, just like the Church at Ephesus did (Revelation 2:4).

God is present through rain and shine, winter and harvest, sickness and health, and in every circumstance of life. To say He must have forsaken us because we experience a season of testing, fails to see Him as our heavenly Father. We walk through the blizzard, apparently all alone. But we are not alone at all. Our heavenly Father watches over us as children He could never forsake (Psalm 23:4). We do not go it alone, though life can seem lonely at times. You have all heard the common illustration of a mother bird dropping her offspring from the nest, only to swoop down and rescue them before they hit the ground. But why would she do that? For amusement? No, far from it. She drops them so they have the opportunity, even the necessity, of strengthening their wing powers so that one day they can fly as she does.

The next time you’re tempted to think that God has left you all alone, remember His rich and precious promises that He could never leave you alone. Even when our faith completely crashes, He stands ready to restore it, even like He did Peter’s faith after he failed (John 21:15-19).

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