“I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
Psalm 16:8 (NLT)
This summer was a whirlwind. It included my oldest niece’s graduation, my first cousin’s funeral, several business trips and lots of homework. Simultaneously, I was jumping through the never-ending hoops required to buy and move into a home.
While some of my busyness came from blessings — like the ability to buy a home, or traveling for a job I was so grateful to have in the midst of a pandemic — there were moments when exhaustion set in. My heart would race while I was sitting still. Stress made my chest muscles tighten, creating sharp, stabbing pains that had become all too familiar.
Late one evening in the solitude of my basement, I let out a loud cry and buried my face in my hands to muffle my screams. Lord, I’m tired! I needed to release all the things that burdened my mind and body as I considered the days to come. I needed to feel God beside me.
The following day, as I ran errands, a worship song played that brought to mind all the ways God had provided for and been close to me.
In particular, my thoughts were led back to being an 8-year-old little girl on a Sunday morning. A friend invited me to church. I loved being there, and so I went every Sunday, even if I went alone.
That morning, I had just learned about Jesus and prayed to God that He would live inside of my heart. My young mind didn’t fully wrap itself around how the God of the universe could live inside of me, but I believed it was true. Wanting to give my life to Him, I prayed. The next Sunday, I went back to that child-sized altar at the end of our lesson and prayed again.
Dear God, in case You didn’t hear me last week, I want Jesus to live inside my heart. OK? Amen.
Driving up the highway many years later, I broke down in tears once more. But these were tears of comfort and joy. This memory reminded me that my faith was my own, and this Jesus still made a home in my heart. God was confirming that He has set me apart for His purpose since I was a child and that He has been with me ever since. In that moment, my memory verse that week came to life:
“I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” (Psalm 16:8)
Suddenly, the stress and overwhelm seemed to dissipate. My eyes brightened as I wiped the tears from my face. I still had several weeks of errands and transition ahead, and while they weren’t easy, I didn’t break down in despair again. I was walking in the knowledge that God was right beside me, and His presence made me unshakable.
Father, You have been so gracious to me. In every season of my life, You have been right beside me, holding me firmly in Your arms, even if I didn’t know it. May I experience Your peace as I walk through hard times, constantly recounting the many ways You have been with me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
How has God shown you that He is right beside you on the hard days?
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