This weeks 'thought'
comes to you from a collection of Spurgeon's devotions
entitled, "Beside Still Waters." I
have quoted from this book before as it is my favorite devotional, and
I've also told you that if you do not have a copy you need to buy
one. I will say that again! It's one of the best.
In fact, I have actually started giving this
book to people who are going through difficult times, since it offers
such great comfort and wonderful insights from Scripture. Today's thought has
to do with the comfort that comes from the knowledge of God's presence in our
deep depression, in the midst of the darkest shadows, Christ appears and seems
sweeter than He ever was before (Acts 23:9-11). When all the created
streams have run dry, then the everlasting fountain bubbles up with a pure and
cooling stream. Remember those occasions and the circumstances that made them
cheerful, and say, 'This God, even the God of Bethel, is still my God.'
If I am in trouble, if I am lonely, if I am brought so low that I literally have
nothing but a doorstep for my pillow -- if I should lose house, home, and
be left like an orphan with no one to shelter me -- oh God of Bethel, you
who cover my head and protect my spirit, you will still be with me. The God of
Bethel (Gen. 31:13) is a God who
concerns Himself with the things of
earth. He is not a God who shuts Himself up in heaven. He is a God who has
a ladder between heaven and earth (Gen. 28:12)...
Puritans believed in an ever-present God. Oh to be able to feel God everywhere,
in the little as well as the great, in our rising up and our sitting down, in
our going out and our coming in. I cannot imagine a life more blessed or
a spirit more related to the spirit of the glorified than the mind and heart of
the person who lives in God, who knows and feels that God is ever-present.
are in personal danger, or in the midst of a storm, or facing illness, and if
you hear a voice saying, "Surely the Lord is in this place," you will
be perfectly at rest. The anxious air grows pure if He is there. Lightning cannot strike you, or if it does, there will be joy.
cannot devour you, nor can the hungry ocean engulf you, or if it does, it
is happiness if God is there. There is no need to fear. Nervousness is
wickedness when 'the eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the
everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you" (Deut.
may be in great poverty. Your walls may be bare and your furnishings
scant. And still you may say, 'Surely the Lord is in this place.'
Remember the old Christian's exclamation, 'What, all this and my God present
with me too?' Better to have poverty and feel His presence than to own
the world's riches and not know that He is here.
you are in deep affliction. Your difficulties are so great that you do
not know where things will end, and you are deeply depressed. But remember,
'Surely the Lord is in this place' (Gen. 28:16). Some of you are called
to some extraordinary duty and do not feel strong enough. Yet follow that call,
and remember that surely the Lord is in that place. He will help you."
How true it is that any hardship or affliction
is endurable -- and can even seem like a weightless burden
-- if we know and can sense God's presence with us in it. Few words
should bring more comfort to the believing soul than the words of Jesus Himself
where he says: "Lo, I am with you
always..." Or the assurance of
the psalmist in Psalm 139 where he tells us it is
impossible to be in any place that God is not. After all, as
believers in Jesus His presence -- the presence of the Holy Spirit -- lives
within us. He doesn't just go with us, He has taken up His
residence within us.
And though the felt
presence of God is a blessing beyond words, we need to remember
that His actual presence
is a reality whether we can feel it, or sense it, or not.
Although we as people tend to be so reliant upon our feelings, the truth
of His presence with us and in us stands as undeniably true
whether we can feel it or not. For as one preacher has said, "I am asked to believe it, not feel it." And when I do it makes all the difference in the world.
With you in the fight, Pastor Jeff