When Susanna Wesley was on her deathbed, she gathered her children around her. As she was about to be called home to heaven, she admonished them not to weep but rather to “sing a hymn of praise.” Then with her last breath, she then reminded them the greatest comfort we have in any, all, circumstances are, that the unchangeable truth of life is “God always goes before us,” “God is with us.”
When we consider and ponder the scope of the tragedies of Uvalde, Texas, the magnitude of what has happened to the black community in Buffalo, New York, it is a good thing to be reminded that our “God always goes before us.”
God is always with us and lives within us.” How easy is it to “back away from God,” from within such experiences as this, how easy is it to believe God has left humanity behind by allowing these events to gain entry into our psyche?
Like Job, we are on the threshold of questioning God, questioning our faith.
If like Job, we are going to come to faith or reaffirm our faith in our God in all circumstances, to set aside the very worst which could happen or has already made its presence felt – causing us to suddenly reconsider, retreat a few steps, we need to have that sacred place of assurance that our trust in God will not be violently thrown back into our faces, will not be abused, but always 100% there.
Deuteronomy 31:1-8New International Version
Joshua to Succeed Moses
31 Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: 2 “I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross the Jordan.’ 3 The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the Lord said. 4 And the Lord will do to them what he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, whom he destroyed along with their land. 5 The Lord will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. 6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; and do not be discouraged.”
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
God has given Christians a difficult assignment. One that seems impossible and for which we feel unbelievably inadequate and unqualified. We bring people to a living, abiding faith in God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
John 10:14 – 18 NIV
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
When the first inclination upon receiving the news of Uvalde, Texas, Buffalo is to stay “a safe distance in the background” start a truly wondrous crusade against something or something else, sound like you are all about achieving maximum results with inactions, it is a sad testimony against you that you prefer “full boots in maximum retreat” against what is the most essential.
“The Knowledge and Maximum Demonstration of the full Presence of God!”
It is a sad testimony against the ones who cry out: “enough, no more prayers!” Against the ones who so quickly refuse to invoke the absolute presence of God in all situations and all circumstances, with all people, absolutely all the time.
Such stances are 1000% contrary to the long-standing promises of our God. As others prefer to retreat kicking, screaming into the world of “I am powerless!” we must recall there will always be those whose first response is to “rush in!”
As Christians, As First Responders, As Christian First Responders, and being the Body of Christ, Being God’s Church, the Steadfast Presence of Lord Jesus Christ,
We are also covenanted to somehow keep our faith when we are summoned into times, seasons which require us to walk alongside of all of humanity when it is or might become painfully apparent when our presence will not be welcomed.
In such times we must recognize the stunning flaws within our own humanity,
“We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.”
― Konstantin Josef Jireček
In my Standing before my Holy God,
In defending my “Courageous Christianity,”
To the beginning of that quote, I would add to these –
“We, the inadequate …”
“We, the unqualified …”
“We, the uncertain …”
“We, the ‘courageous’ of this world …”
Moses questioned God mightily of his qualifications to go back to Egypt.
The enormity of that personal struggle, questioning himself before God’s fire?
Moses certainly did not do any cartwheels or somersaults when God called him to lead the millions of Israelites out of Egypt. He was not the least bit excited in the prospect of going “before God” because he felt poorly equipped to succeed.
That is when spoke to Moses these courage infusing words …
Exodus 3:12 Amplified Bible
12 And God said, “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve and worship God at this mountain.”
These few precious words remind us that with God’s presence and help, we can courageously come to God in confidence. We can accomplish any assignment.
His “I am always with you” presence before us instills confidence into shattered hearts, into questioning hearts, into unwilling hearts, into unqualified hearts, into inadequate hearts, into unequipped hearts, into faithless, hopeless hearts.
From Deuteronomy 31:1-8, we read where Moses announced his coming death.
Joshua was now declared to be God’s designated “First Responder.”
A not so confident, courageous Joshua was going to need a whole lot of God’s words of assurances in the coming days, weeks, months and years ahead to be able to “GO! succeed from where Moses, the “great Law Giver” just left off.
As a Christian community, we too are going to need a whole lot of God’s Word, God’s Truth, if we are going to “GO!” continue to faithfully fulfill our covenant requirements, and faith-filled covenant commitments to the Kingdom of God.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Thank You, Father, for the truth that is contained in the Scriptures. Sometimes I wish I could see the Shekinah glory or be led by a pillar of fire, but I understand that today we live by faith in Your Word and not by sight. Thank You for Your promises to be with us, to lead and to guide us, to protect us, and supply all our needs, according to Your riches in glory. We praise Your holy name that Your whole Word is true, both toward Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo New York and those places where our faith, our hopes, our love are most mightily tested. Glory be to Your holy name, in Jesus’ name I pray, In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! AMEN.
Faith of Our Fathers Text: Frederick W. Faber, 1814-1863
|1. Faith of our fathers, living still,|
in spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
whene’er we hear that glorious word!
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.
2. Faith of our fathers, we will strive
to win all nations unto thee;
and through the truth that comes from God,
we all shall then be truly free.
3. Faith of our fathers, we will love
both friend and foe in all our strife;
and preach thee, too, as love knows how
by kindly words and virtuous life.