An Ever Present Help

God is near when you least anticipate Him

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “an ever present help.”

John marveled at the mystery of incarnation, “He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.” John 1:10-11 NIV. In similar ways, God is daily in our lives, yet we can fail to recognize and receive Him. Live in expectation of His company. This I have learned about my God. He chooses to come at unforeseen moments, to improbable places, and in unthinkable ways. Without announcement, God comes while we are busy in common, everyday routines.

Fleeing from his father and brother because of his own guile and deceit, Jacob found himself alone, and yet not alone because God was there. After an uncertain, restless night, Jacob awakened. Only then did Jacob finally realize that God had visited him in the night, providing direction for his journey and speaking promises to his heart. More in surprise than expectation, Jacob recognized, “Surely, the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” Genesis 28:16 NIV. God is there when you are unaware or least anticipate He is near. Much later, David would affirm, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 NIV.

By observation, I have become convinced that God is most near when I least anticipate, even the times when I have most needed but often felt the least like asking. As with Jacob, the Lord is not with you because you have everything in order, nor just when you recognize you most need Him to be. God seeks your fellowship, continually desiring to be with you, near you. Yet the patience of God waits for you to recognize and welcome His presence. His love draws Him to you; His commitment keeps Him close beside you. God’s Word promises, “Surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age . . God has said, never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” Matthew 28:20 NIV/Hebrews 13:5 NIV. Currently. Constantly. God is with you always.

Years earlier, I read this quote, “There’s no event so commonplace but that God is present . . leaving room to recognize Him, or not.” Frederick Buechner, American author and theologian. Usually, the problem is that you do not know when or how God will appear, or through whom He will speak. He may speak through a wondrous act of power; a friend’s simple words of caution, counsel, or encouragement; or life-saving counsel in a distressing situation. Your goal should be to keep your eyes upon the Lord, with your ears tuned to His voice. In unlikely times, give God your undivided attention.

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 NKJV. Adam found God in his disobedience. Job found God in his tribulation. Jonah found God in his disobedience. Elijah found God in his despair. Daniel found God in a lions’ den. David found God in his repentance. Peter found God in his denial. Paul found God in a shipwreck. John found God while in exile on Patmos. “God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:27-28 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to watch for God in ordinary times and extraordinary ways.

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