“I am with you always”

Jesus is with me – always.

For me, there is no greater encouragement. I may be going through a bad time, a time when I can see little hope. But there is always one great truth – Jesus is with me.

I know this because Jesus told his followers, just before ascending to heaven: “I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20)

Think about what this means.

Jesus lived among us and faced all the temptations we faced. He was surrounded by hostile religious leaders. He saw people suffering and dying and his heart went out to them. He loved and was loved.

At the same time, Jesus is God. He has all power. He can intervene in – and transform – any situation if he chooses.

This man who is God is always with us. He knows what we are thinking and he feels what we feel. And, most important of all, he loves us. And, if it is for our good, he works in ways that sometimes surprise and amaze us.

My reaction in times of trouble is to plead anxiously with God for an answer to prayer that I would like. I’m human.

But sometimes the easy answer isn’t there. Does that mean that God has abandoned me, or is punishing me, or isn’t listening?

Several of us were talking this week about waiting for answers to prayer during times of trouble. Some mentioned trials they were going through, heartbreaking problems with their children. Another mentioned his first wife’s death after fighting cancer for years.

A couple of women said they were sometimes so drained they didn’t want to think about their problems any more – or talk about them with others. Occasionally, they felt almost hopeless.

Many of us have had similar experiences. Sometimes, we question God, wondering why he is allowing us to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death”.

While we were talking this week, I was reminded of a story told by Pete Grieg in his book God on Mute. Grieg, who founded a world-wide prayer movement, was battling doubts as a result of his wife’s serious illness, a brain tumour followed by epilepsy.

One morning, Grieg asked his wife Samie if she doubted God or his power to intervene.

She replied: “No, I never doubt God these days, Pete.”

Then, she added: “How can I doubt God? God is all I’ve got.”

Trouble helps bring us back to what really matters in life – God. When we lose everything else, all we have is God.

If we don’t know now, we will know in eternity what a great treasure Jesus is.

As the apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:8: “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”

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