“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” This is the message that was posted on the projects that our children worked on this weekend during VBS, and it’s the verse from Matthew 28:20 that was the focus of two short nights. As God prepared my heart each nightly service, I couldn’t help but ask myself this question:
Do I cling to this promise when I am afraid? When I am filled with doubt? When I face the many trials of life?
No. I don’t. I forget that He is always with me. I sometimes forget Him entirely and focus on me, myself, and I.
What? But, you are a Pastor? Right. I am, but I am also a sinner, saved by grace, and I still have my fair share of wrestling matches with the devil.
See, God blessed me with two inspiring weeks in which His presence was profound. God blessed me with a number of people who took much of the stress that comes with large events like VBS from me this year. He had given me the peace to finally let some things go.
But, the devil knew this. He knew I was beginning to be reminded of God’s power, and so he picked a few more wrestling matches with me.
Just like Joseph, who was pushed into a well by his jealous brothers, I was pushed into a well of fear and doubt. But, instead of responding like Joseph, humbling myself and believing that God would bring me out of this well, I placed my faith in my own strength, and out of control feelings.
When the devil began to attack me with his messages that I’m not good enough, I’ve got it all wrong. I am doing nothing right. I didn’t respond as Joseph did in that prison, remembering that God would deliver Him from hurt and pain, but wallowing in my own prison of pity.
When I’m disappointed…I forget God’s promise that His ways are higher.
When that dreaded new school year gets closer and closer…my need to control and plan for every setback overshadows His ability to bring our family peace.
When I’m lonely, tired, frustrated, defeated, or offended I forget that He is powerful enough to defeat all of these emotions.
He proved it with His son, and his death on a cross. Yet our lack of faith in Him diminishes this power, and places Jesus on that cross again.
When we think only of me, myself, and I…we nail Him to the cross.
When we can’t forgive others…we nail Him to the cross.
When we let the devil’s messages that we are too little, not good enough, and get nothing right get to us…we nail him to the cross.
God gave His son to remind us that He is there always. In our wells. In our prisons. In our exhaustion. He is always with us.
We have His son and God’s grace to remind us of this. We have an empty tomb to remind us of His power to renew us, and to give us power to win those wrestling matches with the devil.
So, believe it. Even when the devil tries to throw you off track. Even if he calls you back into that ring for another match.
Believe that He is with you always!