The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8
How many times have you quoted Jesus’ departing words to his disciples, those words that were intended to strengthen and comfort them (and us): “Surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). When we’re children, we remind ourselves of this word so that we’re not afraid – Jesus is with me. And when we’re navigating the rough patches of adulthood, those words still keep us going. Jesus is with me.
But, truth be told, the tangible presence of our Lord is sometimes missing during the unexplained. We may not see him when we’re suffering injustice. When the pain pushes us to the point of despair, we may look around for Jesus and wonder about that promise.
I was thinking about this word of truth from Matthew, and it must be true because Jesus said it, and wondering how it could occasionally seem so baffling. There are times when we just don’t see Jesus. So how can he always be with us—even until the end?
And then I remembered something we often proclaim—we are the hands and feet of Jesus, and he lives in us. With the Holy Spirit and Jesus living in us we are to be the fulfillment of that promise to one another and to a very lonely world. We are to comfort, love, encourage, uphold, bless, heal, and be everything God would minister through us for the occasion.
In my international work, we send teams around the world, but it’s always to places where we have established “feet on the ground,” those people who represent us and speak and act for us. Just like that, we are God’s feet on the ground acting and moving and speaking for him. We are God’s reminders that he’s always with his children.
Yes, we are all to live by faith, and we realize his presence never leaves us, and he won’t forsake us. We practice abiding, living, and having our being in him. And we know that nothing separates us from his love (Romans 8:35-39). But if we are to allow him to continue to grow in us, we must obey him in making ourselves available channels through which his Spirit can flow and bless and refresh. And we are to be humble and receptive to the other members of Christ’s Body who are sent to walk with us.
Do you know someone who needs to see Jesus just now? Someone who would love to have him show up? Be there—for him and for them.
Sweet Father, thank you that all your promises are yes and amen. Help us to see our part in their fulfillment. We give you all glory. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.