The four most comforting words in life are:
“I am with you.”
Whether it’s my five year old grandson who is still afraid to go upstairs in the dark or a person who just finds out he/she has a terminal disease or a prophet who has to confront the Pharaoh with some hard truth or a group of disciples in a small boat caught in a raging storm, that four word phrase brings courage and confidence like none other.
“I am with you.”
Before God demonstrates His power to His people, He always promises His presence. He knows that our greatest need is not healing or provision or victory or safety. Our greatest need is to know that we are not alone. He is with us.
The “with” of God is a constant theme in Scripture. All the godly patriarchs, prophets, kings, widows, disciples, and marginalized people were met by God with the promise of holy companionship. Indeed, the first name given to the promised Messiah (Isaiah 7:14) reveals the intent of God for all people, “Immanuel” – meaning “God is with us.”
The “with” of God encourages us, emboldens us, empowers us, and excites us. As Chris Tomlin expounded on the Pauline concept, “And if our God is with us, then who can ever stop us” (Our God), so we know that God’s presence with us is what tilts the odds ever in our favor.
But holy companionship is a two-way street. The “with” goes both ways. Sure, it is great to know that God is with us. It helps us when we’re afraid of the dark or face an unbearable trial. But the real question for us is, “Am I with God?”
Jesus, after thinning out the crowds with one of his “cost of discipleship” speeches, poignantly asked his disciples, “You do not want to leave me too, do you?” To which Peter answered, “Lord, to who shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:67-69).
Peter got the concept of Holy Companionship. It’s not just about God being with us, but it’s actually more about us being with God. And it’s not just about being with God on Sunday mornings or in our Personal Worship or in our times of crisis. It’s about being in Holy Companionship with God in our tasks, in our comings and goings, in our daily decision making, as we are with our families, friends, co-workers, strangers and current enemies (with whom God wants us to be reconciled to).
It’s about constantly asking God what He wants us to do, rather than focusing on our own agenda. It’s about actively jettisoning every sin, every leading of the false self, and every superfluous distraction that He calls us to let go of.
The interesting thing is that the more we learn to be with God/Christ, the more we realize that He is indeed Immanuel; that his Presence is really with us. That makes the difference when we face those trials and fears. The person who occasionally walks with God hopes that God is with them. But the one who regularly walks with God in Holy Companionship knows that God is with them – through thick and thin.
So, how is your walk with God?
How can you be with God more, as He is with you always?