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Stay Near

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

James 4:8
Stay Near Book Cover

You read in an earlier lesson that at the time of writing this study, our world was experiencing a global pandemic. As this is being written (March 2020), we are in a “shelter in place” stance mandated by the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a virus that is infecting people at rapid rates, killing many, and depleting resources across the frontlines of our healthcare industry. The reality of the pandemic is heavy, and the days ahead are very unknown. How long will this last? How many people will this illness kill?

We feel a real desperation for God when we are scared and suffering, and he is quick to meet us right where we are. While we would all prefer a life without temptation, hardship, and pain, that is not our reality. In fact, Scripture shows us story after story of suffering, yet God’s constant faithfulness never fails. Following Jesus does not mean we won’t ever deal with hard things again. It just means we have hope in the middle of it.

Stay the Course

God can teach us great things about himself in the middle of our hardest seasons. When we turn to Scripture, we find one reminder after another of God’s steady, unwavering character. He is our light when we cannot see (John 8:12). He is our shepherd (Psalm 23) when we don’t know where to go. He is the vine we can abide in (John 15:1). When you feel tempted, when you feel afraid, when you feel angry, when you feel sad, stay near to God. Talk to him. Spend time in his Word. Encourage others with truth. Stay the course. In the middle of the unknown, trust our all-knowing God.

Even as you grow with God, hardship is guaranteed, but you’re not left to navigate it alone. When we don’t know what’s next or how things will resolve, we do know how our story ends. Jesus overcame the world. This is our hope. When you’re faced with a hard season, consider asking two questions: (1) What do I need to do to stay connected to God in this season? (2) How will I glorify him through it?

Stay near to God and he will stay near to you (James 4:8). Stay the course because he knows where it’s going.


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Daily Question

What has been testing you lately? What has God taught you in the midst of it?

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Comments (8)

Here lately, I have been dealing with patience and trusting God with my life. I need to trust God in the midst of life’s uncertainty. Right now I am in the battle of trusting people. I know I need to trust God in that he is the one who puts those people in your life and that I have to trust God and he will help me with the rest.

Staying in a very unfulfilling and frustrating job has been testing me. God has taught me in the midst to lean on the Holy Spirit, give thanks for what it provides my family financially, and focus more on who and how God asks me to show up as towards others. He’s provided glimpses of hope as I’ve shared my heart and what I’d think I’d rather be doing for a career. He’s shown me idols I hold on to (success, approval, pleasing my mom in my career choices). He’s taught me to layout what’s in my heart, surrender more, trust and listen, spend more time in the word.

Control issues. I like to feel like I’m in control, and it’s been made clear (multiple times) that I need to give up and trust God.

I struggle with my need for control and trusting God’s timing. God has taught me and continues to teach me that I’m not in control and that things will work out his way and in his time. He always works things out better than I could ever imagine.

My need to feel in control and trusting in God’s provision God. Wanting to change jobs and wanting to please my boss by staying. God provided a link to a job that sounded like it was better, however, I failed to act and it was no longer open. I cannot please God and please man. Delayed obedience is still disobedience. He wants to help and He needs to to take action when He tells me to do so. He wants me to cast my anxiety upon Him because He cares for me. He is faithful and He loves me. His Word is a love story for all mankind. He wants me to go and tell and trust Him.

Thank you for the insight and reminder that yes delayed obedience is disobedience! I really needed to be reminded of that this morning.

Surrendering the decision for a potential move across country to God. Was it God’s leading to look at moving or ours…wisdom to know what His will is. He’s been teaching me that I just need to be faithful to spend time in his word and pray.

The last few years have been hard. PTSD from Hurricane Dorian in 2019- life changed forever. Losing my 3 grandparents within 8 months of each other. Being 38 and single with no prospects on the horizon. Medical challenges- chronic headaches and restless leg syndrome. It’s been hard to say the least. But God has shown me he is always there- I cannot run from Him because He is always wooing me back. He is my strength when I have none. He is my joy when life seems joyless.

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