She comes into my room with tears glistening down her cheeks. “Mommy, I’m scared. I had a bad dream.”
I slowly awaken and scoop her up, taking her back to her bed. She clings to me as she tells me her fears. As I lie beside her, I offer her the one thing that helps her in her distress: my presence.
It’s like that for most of us when we are fearful or hurting, isn’t it? We want the assurance that comes from someone being there with us. Throughout all of Scripture, when God’s people are facing battles, difficulties, and trials, the Lord offers one promise time and again: I will be with you.
After Israel left Egypt and fell into sin with the golden calf, the Lord showed grace to Moses by listening to his prayers on behalf of the Israelites. His display of divine mercy was summed up with these words, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Ex. 33:14).
When Joshua stood on the edge of the Promised Land, with the wealthy and strong Canaanite cities before him, he had much to fear. These cities were well fortified and their men mighty—the spies reported feeling like grasshoppers in comparison (Num. 13:33). The Israelites’ resources were few—they’d been wearing the same shoes for forty years (Deut. 29:5). God did not give the promise of ease or remove the battle. Instead, He offered this assurance: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:9).
When God spoke to the Israelites through the prophet Isaiah, he commanded them to “fear not” (Isa. 43:1). It wasn’t that they wouldn’t face things to fear. He told them that they would pass through the waters and walk through the fire. Through it all, God offered the guarantee of His presence: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you” (vv. 1–2).
On the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus left His disciples with this twofold parting promise: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever. . . . I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16, 18). The presence of the Holy Spirit dwells with us always, and Jesus is coming back for us.
We live in a fearful world. There’s so much we cannot control. God does not offer us the promise of an easy life or trouble-free existence. He gives us a better promise: Himself. There is nothing greater we could ask for, nothing more that we need.
We can face the battles that come our way, we can walk through trials and not fear, and we can rest content in all things for one reason: “Be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’ ” (Heb. 13:5). The promise of His presence is the substance of our hope and the solution for our fears.