- "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God He is one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."
- "Be strong and of good courage....And the Lord, He is the one who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed."
Then at the beginning of the book of Joshua, God again directly gives this word to Joshua as he steps into Moses' position:
- "As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you."
The phrase "I will never leave you nor forsake you" is referenced again in Hebrews 13:5, and it serves as a comfort and a reminder of another one of God's attributes: His nearness. He is always near. He is with us. His nearness is, to me, an endearing attribute. And yet, how often do I forget that He is with me? At times of major crises, this attribute is, of course, the one we cling to most. But for the every day, the mundane, the day in and day out? At the end of John, Jesus tells his disciples He is sending the Holy Spirit, who will be their helper. Literally, this means One who walks with or walks beside.
This week has been a crazy week for me. Sometimes I let life pile higher and higher until I'm overwhelmed, and this week has been one of those weeks where I over-commit myself and promise too much to too many. By the end of the week, I'm running on empty, and I'm thinking, how did I get here?
The Lord gave me a picture as if I were putting a piece of furniture together by myself, and I needed to hold the two ends "just so" while I drilled. I can't hold two pieces and drill at the same time. Imagine, though, that someone is sitting next to me as I squirm and wiggle trying to hold the pieces "just so" while I drill. It seems foolish, right? Why wouldn't I just say, "Hey, can you help me out here?"
Now, that's just one project--maybe a once-in-a-while kinda thing. But imagine if I were putting furniture together for a living. Day in and out, I'm squirming and wiggling and frustrated trying to balance everything "just so" while my partner, my helper sits there next to me, twiddling his thumbs.
It's a silly picture, but visually it really resonates within me--as someone who has put together a lot of furniture over the years and as someone who doesn't do very well letting others (a.k.a. Hal) help me as I do it.
It's no less foolish to live like I have this week, trying to juggle it all. I've been forgetful (for three days in a row, I ran out of the house in such a hurry I forgot to set meat out to thaw for dinner), I've been late to every appointment or meeting I've had (which, if you know me, is very unlike me!) because I'm always on the rush, from here to there, trying to get one more thing in, and I've been exhausted. I got so run-down from staying up til 1 a.m. trying to "get it all done," that by Wednesday, I was sick. This always happens to me, too... I let myself get so worn down that I just end up sick.
And at the end of the week, my Helper gently says, "You know, if you'd like, I can hold those two boards while you drill."
The point is God is always near. It's not only an inherent attribute, it's His promise too: I will never leave you nor forsake you. And we have the Holy Spirit to help us, to walk alongside us. He's more than a fire fighter or a disaster relief aide. He is there for the every day to empower us.
This week is over - and I'm so thankful. Because of this week, I got to be reminded of God's most endearing attribute, that He is near. But next week, I want to live by that truth and walk, instead, with the empowerment of the One who walks alongside me.