There are some phrases that drive me nuts. I can’t stand being told “I’ll be with you in a second.” What that often means is “I may be with you in a few minutes if I feel like it, but more then likely I won’t, because you really aren’t that important.” I know, that’s probably not what they’re thinking, but I often fear it is. Another phrase I can’t stand, though I say it to my kids a lot, is “just be patient” (and yes, I fully realize this makes me a hypocrite). Yes, I too know I should be patient, but man, I really don’t want to be sometimes! And besides, telling me to be patient seldom helps. If anything, it just reminds me that I’m in a hurry and have no desire to be patient!
Another phrase that is in danger of invoking similar feelings in us is “God will be with you.” It certainly didn’t seem to calm Gideon’s anxieties as he faced a massive army in Judges 6:11-17. This is a perfectly fine, Biblical, and theologically orthodox phrase, but we frequently misunderstand it. I’ll be honest, there have been times when I’m struggling and someone says “God is with you” that I don’t find the phrase helpful. Yet, it is always true that God is with ALL who have given our lives to Him. So, what does it really mean that God is with us? Let me break it down in the form of an acrostic, using the word WITH.
Walks with Us: No matter what we are going through in life, God is actively loving and listening to us. This is a BIG deal. God never abandons us. I encourage you to get in the habit of regularly taking a break from the craziness of life to remember God’s love for you and to share your thoughts, concerns, and praises with He who always listens.
Inspires Us: God guides, helps, and inspires us by the Holy Spirit. What this looks like differs from person to person and situation to situation. The reality is that God moves and inspires. Sometimes its small nudges in our hearts. Other times God works through people in our lives. Sometimes its the Word or a sermon that moves us. Whatever method, God is with us to inspire us in ways both large and small.
Teaches Us: God does not leave us to our own devices. He does not just toss us into this complicated world and tell us to simply figure it out. Instead, He teaches and advises us by the Word and the Spirit. We are so blessed to have the Bible, the inspired Word of God, to advise and teach us. Are you taking enough advantage of this amazing gift God has given us?
Heals Us: God heals us from our sins and transgressions for all eternity. This is something that no one else could do, yet God does it freely for us. It is the absolute greatest way anyone could ever be with someone else, in good times or bad.