Good things happen to good people. Bad things happen to bad people. Obviously these statements aren’t true. But do you ever wish life’s situations could be neatly and simply categorized? What if, God only brings blessings to the righteous? What if, the devil only brings curses to those far from God? It would settle, at least in part, the age-old philosophical quest for why there is evil in the world. And living right would guarantee that we experience only good things. Unfortunately there are no such guarantees.
Thankfully it is possible to experience peace that surpasses understanding while in the midst of struggles. Unlike Eastern religion that seeks to eliminate the illusion of suffering, Jesus Christ not only acknowledges suffering, He addresses it head on by giving Himself. He promises to be with us in the midst of suffering, and He is faithful.
These days when friends ask me how I am doing, I no longer answer, “Fine.” My reply is generally, “Up and down with Jesus in the midst of it all.” It’s honest, and it expresses the truth. I don’t have to hide behind a smile. Whether the circumstances of my life are good, bad, or ugly, the presence of Jesus is with me.
The 23rd Psalm paints a beautiful picture of the Lord’s presence. He is with me when things are running smoothly and I enjoy great blessings.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
My Shepherd is just as near when things take a turn for the worse.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
He is with me when facing the darkest valley of death or the hateful threats of enemies. His presence dispels all fear and surrounds me with comfort. He takes care of me, providing the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
No matter what I encounter, God’s goodness and love are present. He is always with me. Lest I forget, there is more than just this life. I look forward to being with Him forever in His house.
There is absolutely nothing that can thwart the love of Christ. His loving presence continually flows toward us. We forget. We erect barriers. But He is constant. He is with us.
Friend, no matter what difficulties you may encounter, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and His precious love for you. He is Emmanuel, God with us. Right here. Right now. And always.
For I am convinced 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 us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for being near and walking with me every moment of every day. Strengthen me when I’m weak and can’t see You at work in my life. Help me to trust You and to sense Your presence even in the darkness, knowing that You have defeated the enemy of my soul. Let Your hope and peace arise in my heart, as I acknowledge Your faithfulness. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.