His Presence in the Wilderness
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
It was a horrific day; one of the worst ever, in fact. I had a newborn son in the NICU with a terrifying diagnosis. Earlier in the day, he had yanked out his feeding tube (again), and had started choking on his formula. There were no nurses around at the time, and had I not been there, he would have most certainly choked to death.
He wouldn’t eat at all. The one line they had to give him the nutrition and meds he needed was going bad, and the options to replace it were terrible. Because of the skin disorder that he was born with, putting a PICC line in his neck was going to be painful for him and impossible to secure.
I was sure it wouldn’t work, but it was the only choice. On top of that, my husband had been sick for a few days, was not coming to the hospital and wasn’t even staying in our home, for fear of spreading his germs to me.
Although I was loved and supported by so many, I felt completely alone. I could feel the powers of darkness and spiritual forces of evil talked about in Ephesians 6. It was terrifying.
On the way from the hospital, around midnight, I had it out with God. I screamed, cried, and pitched the unholiest of fits. I questioned Him about where He was and this path He was taking us down. I begged for the peace that passes understanding.
As I was pulling off the highway onto the exit ramp to my house, I was overcome, overcome, by His presence. I immediately experienced peace like I’ve never known, and literally, in one second, went from hysterical to completely calm. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was with me, and that it was going to be okay.
I really credit God with His awesomeness in this situation, because He totally could have pulled a Job on me – Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man. I will question YOU and you shall answer me. (Job 38) Don’t you just love it when God oozes grace when you deserve a holy smack down?
Why does it seem we have to go down the hardest roads to be so acutely aware of God’s presence? I was reading Exodus 13 the other day, and these verses jumped out at me –
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.
Sometimes God leads us through the wilderness, a different and longer way, so we won’t be tempted to turn back. Sometimes He’s protecting us from a war that isn’t ours. Sometimes he takes us the lengthy way to prepare us for battle.
When our journey’s path makes no sense, we have to trust the God that knows the destination. God’s presence and peace always go with us (see Exodus 13:21-22) when we are following His path in obedience.
If you are doubting God’s presence in your life today, pray! Ask Him to show you His presence and the way to go. He is faithful to answer, and His path can always be trusted, even when He takes you the long way around.
Dear Lord, Thank You for presence that goes with me wherever You lead. Help me to trust YOU and the destination, even when the road seems impossible. Help me to be strong and courageous, and thank You for Your promise that You will never leave me. You know the way. Help me believe. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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© 2017 by Patrice Williams. All rights reserved.
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