Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:9
Just as it is our heart’s desire to be unconditionally accepted, being rejected and are our greatest fears.
Researchers have speculated that how we each deal with these fears has a significant impact on our emotional development. If we feel loved and have a sense of belonging, then we tend to behave confident and secure. We feel freer to explore our environment. We can act more adventuresome and can take on greater emotional risks. If we are anxious and insecure, then we tend to isolate ourselves. We begin to anticipate rejection and tend to protect ourselves from potential harm. We might avoid forming new relationships, or leave them abruptly when we start to feel unsafe.
God has intentionally designed us “to need” to be in relationships—with him and with each other. Although our wholeness and health is affected by the richness of our social connections, it is particularly dependent on the strength of our spiritual condition. After all, Adam’s first relationship was with God as they walked together in the cool of the evening. It is not surprising then that research suggests that people who have a strong faith tend to heal faster after a medical procedure and to view the world with a more optimistic perspective. God understands we need to be in a relationship with him so much so that he goes out of his way to repeatedly promise he is with us.
Despite these reassurances, most of us have wondered from time to time if God is present. We are not alone when we experience this doubt. Many biblical figures have had similar concerns. Let’s use Elijah has an example. He was an amazing prophet who had a strong, personal relationship with God. Even though Elijah’s obedience led to God performing a dramatic miracle on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:16–39), Elijah became so discouraged when he had to flee for his life that he prayed for his death (1 King 19:1–5). How could Elijah forget the power of God’s presence up on that mountain? Why didn’t he turn to God for emotional support when he feared for his life? Despite Elijah’s withdrawal and despair, God lovingly came and tended to Elijah’s needs. God understood Elijah’s fears and became “present.”
We may feel very alone when life takes a terrible turn, but it is far from the truth. We can be assured God understands our fears of abandonment. There is a beautiful scriptural metaphor used several times to describe God’s love for us. Like a mother hen who covers her chicks with her wings during a stormy night (Psalm 91:1–4; Luke 13:34), God hugs us tightly to himself while he sings songs of his love over us (Zephaniah 3:16–17). We are not alone — God is our ever-present comforter.
- When have you wondered if God was with you?
- What caused you to doubt God’s presence?
- What reassured you that God was still with you?
- How did you experience his comfort?
Dear God, When life becomes difficult, I become afraid that I am all alone. You have promised you are with me. Thank you, for being patient with my doubts and fears. Please continue to comfort me in all of life’s circumstances. Hold me tightly and help me to hear your songs of love and reassurances over the noise of life.
1 Kings 19:1–11