Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
I like the story of a little boy named Timmy. He had just started school, but his mother didn’t like the idea of his walking to school alone. But he was too grown up to be seen with his mother.
So, she spoke to him and each morning quoted the words of Psalm 23: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:6 – NKJV). She was trying her best to be a comfort, asking God to protect him and help him.
One day she asked a neighbour who walked with her daughter to follow Timmy to school for her, but she was to stay at a distance so he wouldn’t know. But after a few days, Timmy’s little friend asked him, Do you know that woman who follows us to school?
Sure, he said, that’s Shirley Goodnest and her daughter Marcy. My mum reads about them every day in the 23rd Psalm. She says they will follow me all the days of my life—so I guess I’d better get used to them.
God is with us all the time
It’s a cute story—and one that reminds me God will never leave us. He is with us all the time. It’s incredible that with billions of people in the world, God loves us each one, and in his sovereign magnificence he has declared, I love you and am with you. We can say with confidence, The Lord is my helper, so I need not fear.
One of the most thrilling words found in the Bible is Matthew 28:20, the words of Jesus, “I will be with you always”. Life can be uncertain at times—we are not sure what is happening to us or around us. Outcomes are not clear, and things can get out of control. But God is with us 24/7. Deuteronomy 31:8 has the promise:
The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Be not afraid; be not discouraged.
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We tend to put our trust in things instead of God. Possessions mean so much, we can’t let go. And yet trusting does mean letting go.
A story like many others
Charlie James grew up, it seemed to everyone, in a happy family. But when the doors were closed and he went to bed, he could hear his mother and father shouting at each other. He heard his mother say, You’re pathetic, useless. I never knew why I married a loser like you. You’re good for nothing. Charlie’s dad worked as hard as he could from 6 am til 7 pm Monday to Friday and Saturdays 6 am til 2 pm. But no matter what his father did, it was not good enough.
One day he came home from school and found his dad home from work early, crying in the lounge room: Charlie’s mother had left. It broke his heart and his dad’s heart. Later on, Charlie’s dad died. He had been his best friend, and it hit him really hard. But two years later, Charlie met a lady that he married. And the day their son was born was the happiest day of his life. He worked hard as he could to provide for his family.
God said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)
But one day his wife started abusing him. It sounded exactly like those words he heard all those years ago. Then his wife said, I don’t love you anymore. It’s over. I want nothing to do with you. She took the baby and left. There was only one thing Charlie could do, and that was pray. He opened the Bible and began to read Psalm 27:10: “Though my mother and father forsake me the Lord will rescue me”.
Then he read the words of Hebrews 13:5-6, “…God said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. We will say with confidence, The Lord is my helper”. Those few Bible verses were all he needed to help him get over all those years of feeling rejected and abandoned. In the past, he felt it was his fault that these things had happened—somehow he was to blame. But the more he prayed, the more God healed his broken heart.
I have a feeling there are a lot of ‘Charlies’ out there who feel lonely and abandoned, sometimes at no fault of their own. But the reality is we have a God who will never let go of you—never say, You’re hopeless. He will always be there as your helper, friend, and Deliverer. With God there is always a new chapter to enter into, and new adventures of faith to enjoy.
We need to say, Lord, you’re in control of my life. All we see in our lives is what is happening here and now, plus all that has transpired. But God has given us the ability to face the unknown. How do I know that? Psalm 100:5 says, “The Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting, and his truth endures to all generations”.