God’s Presence Strengthens Us
Open Your Bible
Deuteronomy 31:6-8, Psalm 46:1-11, Zephaniah 3:17, Isaiah 40:9-11, Isaiah 41:10, 2 Timothy 4:16-18
BY Patti Sauls
We can find courage and hope to endure all things because the powerful presence of our God goes with us.
It was over twenty years ago, but it feels like yesterday. Like clockwork, our first baby, Abby, would get fussy right before bedtime. Cue the footie pajamas, last bottle, diaper change, beloved blankie and a snuggle. I’d hold her close as she wriggled in my arms fighting sleep. Quietly, I would sing the familiar lullaby that my dad had sung over me: “Night, night, oh Abby. Sleepy tight, oh Abby. Close your eyes, oh Abby. Night, night, night, night… night.” Soon, her eyelids would get heavy, her breath would slow and deepen, and her little body would relax as she nestled into my chest.
I wish I could wrap my head and heart around the fact that God holds me tight, that He loves me like this. Do we believe that God embraces us in our weariness? The prophet Isaiah insists that God is not remote or withdrawn. On the contrary, we need not fear because God is with us, He strengthens us, and He upholds us (Isaiah 41:10). Do we believe that God enjoys us and sings over us? Zephaniah 3:17 tells us, “The LORD your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will be quiet in his love. He will delight in you with singing.”
God is a warrior who saves. He fights for me and gives me refuge, strength, and help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). But it’s not only His powerful presence that gives me strength. His tender presence strengthens me too. Our God is a lullaby-singing warrior who loves His children.
Isaiah reveals God’s deep tenderness by comparing Him to a shepherd: “He protects his flock like a shepherd; he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them in the fold of his garment. He gently leads those that are nursing” (Isaiah 40:11). Our minds can’t fully grasp the reality of Almighty God stooping down to care for us in the messy, nitty-gritty of our daily lives. Yet we’re invited to see Him doting on us like a shepherd tending his needy sheep. This is how God has chosen to reveal Himself to us. He doesn’t merely tolerate us; He delights in us. He gathers us up in His arms, carries us close, and sings to us.
Yes, God is a fierce warrior fighting for His people and a singing warrior who delights in us and quiets us with His love. In this we find a nourishing strength that satisfies our souls. We can rest in His arms, close our eyes, and slow our breath as He sings over us. Instead of suffering our own pounding hearts, we can lean in and hear His steady heartbeat. It beats steadily with His love for us.