By Zoe Jauniskis
I have to face the challenging things in life all by myself, and I don’t think I have what it takes.
I am never alone. God is with me. And that means that I don’t need to have what it takes, because God already does.
God promises over and over again that he will be with me. He is not vague about it. And when God talks about being with me, he tends to get poetic:
- He goes before me (Deuteronomy 31:8)
- He hems me in behind and before (Psalm 139:5)
- He is holding my hand (Isaiah 41:13)
- He is living within me (1 John 3:13)
It is beautiful to know we are not alone. It is comforting, and relieving…but also powerful! Because God being with us makes a huge difference when we face challenges:
“But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.””
“The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.””
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.””
In the stories of Moses and Gideon, each man responds to God’s call by pointing out his own personal weaknesses. Moses was an outlaw who struggled with speaking, and Gideon was the wimpy youngest son of an insignificant family. In both cases, when God throws them a challenge, they say “no way God. I don’t have what it takes.”
When a friend tells me something like this about their own self-doubt, I tend to respond with, “no way, you got this!” or “you’re stronger than you think you are” or “just be confident.” But that’s not what God says. Instead, he says, “I will be with you.” I used to think he was ignoring their worries. But I’m realizing that, by refusing to engage with their self-doubt, God is telling
Moses and Gideon that his presence is much more important than their credentials.
And God says the same thing to us! In Matthew 28, when Jesus presents one of his biggest calls to action, he pairs it with a promise: “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Walking with God is incredibly challenging! Jesus wants to make sure that I know that the skills and strengths (and weaknesses, flaws, mistakes, doubts and fears) I bring to the table is more or less irrelevant. God is with me, and it is his presence that makes all things possible.
I find it very natural to approach challenging situations as if I’m alone in them, focusing entirely on my own weaknesses. It is easy to forget that God and I are supposed to be on a team. For me, this happens most often in social situations and relationships. I often feel as if I somehow missed a crucial introductory course on “how to have friends and be cool” that everyone else has already completed. Convinced that I am out of my depth, and very much alone in my cluelessness and insecurity, I have a hard time taking the risks required to build closeness with people. In those moments, when I focus in on myself—my own set of strengths and weaknesses, my resume of past experiences, my worries—the situation tends to look bleak, and I feel very stuck and alone. But when I zoom out and remember that God is right there, going before me, hemming me in behind, holding my hand, and living within me, taking those risks becomes much more possible.
I’ve been trying to notice phrases like “I can’t do that,” “I don’t know how to do that,” or “I’m bad at that” in my prayers and conversations with myself and others. When I use this language, I am being a lot like Gideon, who focused in on his own (pretty unimpressive) credentials rather
than the fact that the God of the universe was fighting alongside him. When you feel inadequate and alone in a challenge, try praying about the fact that God is with you, and it is God’s abilities, rather than yours, that are the deciding factor in your life. Be honest with how you feel—inadequate, unprepared, alone in the fight—but remind yourself that, no matter how you feel, God has not left you along in the fight.
My God, thank you for being with me. Who, other than you, can truly claim to be with me always? No one! My God, I often believe the lie that I am alone. So it is amazing to remember that “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:10). My God, your constant presence in my life demonstrates such insane love. Why else would you stay so close to me all the time? Thank you for loving me with this love, that never leaves me alone… It is amazing to remember that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate [me] from [your love], that is in Christ Jesus [my] Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). That’s how closely you hold onto me. And my God, thank you again, because there are so many things I cannot handle. But I know that with you, my weaknesses don’t really matter. You are here, and so “I can do all things through [you] who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this quiet time feel free to leave a comment below!
See all the quiet times from this series here: https://www.icocne.org/category/promises-quiet-time-series/
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