A Necessary Nearness

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 in Stories

A Necessary Nearness

“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him …” (Nahum 1:7)

Is it just me, or is there a ton of hard stuff going on right now? Globally – we have wars all over, medical epidemics in Africa, and jetliners mysteriously disappearing then crashing 1,000 miles off course. Locally – we have the huge mudslide impacting hundreds of families. In our own church we have so many who are struggling medically, relationally, spiritually, and vocationally.

Ugh.

In the midst of all this, my 2014 Bible Read Thru has me smack-dab in the middle of the prophets this month. Talk about some depressing messages!

Every once in a while, tucked amid the “this is going to get really bad for you” message, there is a glimmer of hope. A promise of restoration. A reminder of God’s faithfulness. A necessary, refreshing drink…

One of those nuggets is found in Nahum 1:7. To truly grasp the fullness of this verse, take a look at the verses immediately before and after verse 7.

Verse 6: “Who can stand before his fierce anger? Who can survive his burning fury? His rage blazes forth like fire, and the mountains crumble to dust in his presence.”

… and verse 8: “He will sweep away his enemies in an overwhelming flood. He will pursue his foes into the darkness of night.”

Yikes! And yet … tucked in the middle is verse 7: “The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.”

I have read this before. I have read other verses similar to this as well. But I had missed something important: God’s goodness doesn’t mean troubles won’t come. It means He is near us when they do come.

Knowing this and living into it are two different things. It feels like God’s goodness should prevent the bad stuff. His goodness should keep it far way. His goodness should make life pain-free. We all know that’s not the case.

He is a refuge WHEN trouble comes. Trouble will come. For many of us, it’s here now. I don’t know about you, but I need to lean into the truth of His nearness. To remember that He is a refuge. To remember He is the only One who isn’t caught off guard by any of this. To remember He is the One who already knows how it is going to turn out. To remember He is the One who is big enough, strong enough, and good enough to keep me afloat. To remember my good God is also the one who is the nearest.

Alongside,
Keith
Keith can be reached via email here.


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