Never Alone, Always Heard
Only do not two things unto me: then will I not hide myself from thee.
Withdraw thine hand far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid.
Then call thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer thou me. Job 13:20-22
In these verses, Job shows a resignation to his plight, a sort of acceptance, but he has two requests of God. First, for His presence.
Is there anything worse than being alone when you need help? I can barely stand being alone in the dark, let alone real danger or devastation. And yet, with the right people, the right support, the right presence in your life, you feel like you can do anything, make it through anything.
Its kind of like exercising alone. Yes, exercise is pretty much equal to devastation to me. I used to go to classes with my sisters in law. We would meet at the gym at 6:00am. Yup. And I had two toddlers. And I actually kind of liked it. It was a chance to get out, be with people, and get some dreaded exercise out of the way. I couldn’t quite seem to make it back after my third child. I’ve walked and run with other people before, because if you have someone to complain with, its semi-bearable. When I moved, I didn’t know anyone to exercise with and that was pretty bad for my habits.
Now I play badminton a couple of times a week with a group of teachers. You’ve never seen a lovely group of spiritual baptist women turn into a fierce, sweating, trash-talking group like this before. And I adore it. Its the most fun I’ve ever had exercising.
Even though its kind of a silly example, we know that we’re told to do all the hard things with a partner. Job knew that he was never going to make it through this time in his life if God wasn’t there for him. So he reached out and asked. He just needed a little reassurance that God was going to be there for him.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11
The presence of God brings us joy. Not only because we’re not alone, but because God is the only one who can bring that joy that passes understanding in the middle of a trial. When your life is falling apart, you don’t have to. You can have supernatural joy because of Who stands beside you. Because of the One who’s in control, directing your steps, leading you down the path of life, even when it seems hard and rocky and steep. Because of the One we know that is working all things together for our good.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
How do we as Christians say that we can walk right through the shadow of death? How do we fearlessly enter that valley?
Only because we do not walk alone.
Though everyone in our lives may have forsaken us. Though our whole life has fallen apart. Though the struggle seems unending. We are not alone. It is a unique blessing of following God and keeping the hope in the middle of struggle. We never have to do it alone.
Then call thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer thou me
Job not only wanted God’s presence, but he wanted God’s ear.
Probably the only better feeling than not being alone is being heard.
I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.
Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.
The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.
Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.
Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.
For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. Psalm 116:1-8
Think about the reality of these verses. You’re going through a hard time. You’re crying, maybe you have words, maybe you don’t. Maybe those words are good and righteous. Maybe they’re angry and hurt. But you take them all, and you pray them.
And because you are His child, the God of the universe inclines His ear to you.
Just as though you are sitting in the ashes, your voice is low, your words marred by crying, and yet they reach His ears. Not only do they reach His ears, its as though He is sitting next to you and puts His arm around you and dips His head. You know that dip, the one that lets you know the other person wants to catch every word. Every syllable. That they are invested in exactly what you are saying and want to listen carefully.
The God of the universe dips his head down when you cry. And we call Him gracious. And righteous, and merciful. And we love Him because when we are brought low, he helps us. And delivers us and deals bountifully with us.
And it is this knowledge, the knowledge of His presence and His hearing of us, that delivers our soul from death and our eyes from tears and our feet from falling.
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