Staring Down Instead of Looking Up

World events, politics, and Pokemon Go have been swirling around us the past couple of weeks, but our family has barely noticed. It’s hard to see life happening around you when you are fearfully intent on the ground.

We are in a season of loss — some deeply personal, some of it tangential. Accidents claiming promising lives too soon. Grieving spouses, parents, and children. Brave young friends battling fierce illness. Shoulders hunched and head down, we wait for the other shoe to drop.

We’ve been reminded in stunning fashion of life’s brevity and uncertainty.

The path we walk is like a loose, dry, gravel road. Every step feels unsure. Every movement unsteady. A careless step could send us skidding or take us down. A crack in the surface could cause the road’s foundation to crumble, and would we be able to stand?

Is more loss coming? Will it get closer to us? Could we survive similar devastation?

So in our fear, we stare down at the gravel beneath our feet and supervise every step. We question why things have happened. We doubt the impact of offering to help, somehow.

We pray and we hope against all hope that God hears our prayers. But we wonder why He didn’t send a miracle. And then we feel smaller – do our prayers even matter?

But left and right of that dusty road, God’s promises abound. Blooming flowers, evidence that life continues. Flowing streams and waterfalls, beauty given to us by a loving Creator. Powerful thunderstorms, showcasing His might.

Grace and peace for families, even when loved ones near their final breath. Kindness of strangers, reaching out to comfort the hurting and carry their load.

He is near. We are not alone.

The Bible contains much evidence of God’s love for His people — the most obvious being the gift of Jesus for mankind’s salvation. But there is more.

We are not saved and then He is done with us. Check! Done! We are saved and we become His. And He loves His children deeply and personally. Our day-to-day lives matter to Him, as do the joys and hurts we experience along the way.

When the Israelites were journeying through the wilderness under the leadership of Moses, God directed them to build the ark of the covenant and the tabernacle, not simply for His glory but so that He could dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8) He was already communicating with them through Moses, but now He would draw even nearer to them as they continued toward the promised land.

When Moses was aging (if that is what you’d call someone who is 120 years old), he announce Joshua as his successor. Joshua was taking over an arduous, daunting task, but Moses reminded him of God’s promise to stay with him and never depart — He will not leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:1-8)

This is a God that loves us. Personally. Deeply. In good times and in bad.

If you are hurting today, can I ask you to look up? To look around? Would you watch for signs of His presence?

You are not alone. He is near.

He Will Never Leave You copy