Fear Not, For I am With You.
Dear Jesus, please get me to my exit.
Jesus, help me!
Jesus, I need you.
My prayers Friday night were far from poetic, they sounded more like the moaning of a sick child. I was driving a long distance that turned into a nightmarish longer distance. The rain pounded from the sky and flooded the road. I drove for an hour with my hazards on because I could only see a foot or two before me. I was so stressed. My stomach was in a knot and my head was pounding. I hadn’t been able to eat much because of the stress and my energy levels were low if any. After teaching for the past two weeks, I was emotionally and mentally spent, but I could not stop fighting now. Satan still was fighting to keep me from fulfilling the calling Jesus had placed on me. Though I had been doing ministry the battle was not over. Fighting to be close to Jesus is a constant battle. I must have the same intensity in my daily prayer time as I did when I was fighting for my life. The same God who was with me in the thunderstorm is with me when I am struggling to deal with a stubborn student, or when I am frustrated with what God is doing. He is with me. God Almighty is the only one who satisfies. Lean into Him. The only thing I could do to keep from becoming a slobbering, tearful mess was to say the name of Jesus over and over again. I knew that having a wet face wouldn’t help me see the road in front of me. At one point the road was so flooded, the defrost on my car wasn’t working that I wondered if this was the time that God had written for me to go. Would I die tonight? I sang every praise and worship song could remember and Bible verse after Bible verse for the eight and half hour drive that was supposed to be six…. My GPS went out. But thankfully it didn’t go out till I reached and interstate and knew how to get home. My palms were sweaty, and I drove with my body hunched close to the steering wheel. There was no place on the side of the road to cry and wait for the storm to pass. I could only go forward. When I could I would glance at the sky hoping against hope to see a sliver of sun or a peek of open sky. But there was none. My phone was almost dead and so I couldn’t listen to music. My soul simply begged God for His presence. He didn’t make the rain stop, but He kept me alive and His presence surrounded my tiny car. God sent a fleet of angels around my car protecting me. I am so grateful. For while Satan is at work God is so much stronger. The invisible realms are always working. Will you trust that God is at work in the midst of your thunderstorm? Will you trust that God will deliver you? As I was driving I had to put everything I learned about God into practice in my mind. I had to believe that the God that calmed the sea with the touch of His voice and that walked on water, was with me. I spoke the presence of Jesus over and over my car till I was saturated with His presence. I couldn’t see Him, but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was near and that He was with me.
“I am with you.”
“I am with you.”
Wow. He was with me.
I would never want to repeat that experience, nor would I wish it on anyone. But I think God wanted to see if I would trust Him. I couldn’t trust the automated voice of my GPS to guide me, and I couldn’t ask anyone else to drive. I could only trust Jesus and Jesus alone. I prayed for every person God brought to my mind. He allowed my soul to live. At one point in my journey I stopped at a Sheetz gas station. The sky was turning to twilight and the rain still tumbled over the world washing out the sin and impurity of the whole world and my own heart. I was still dressed in my professional teaching wear which was not practical for the drenched weather. My flip flops squished like a duck on the clear floor in the gas station. My hair was well…. I will let you imagine what the hair of a harried driver who hadn’t seen a decent mirror or hairbrush in a while looked like…ha ha. I was more thankful to be alive. I walked up to the register clinging to my small cup of coffee. Christy, the sweet cashier looked at me. I’m sure the Lord prompted her heart. “Is that all you want?” I nodded simply. “You can have it.” I smiled and thanked her and ran out to my car before having a breakdown in the crowed, cold, gas station. I quickly pumped my gas and drove back onto the interstate. The hot coffee was such a comfort to me. It was like a hug from the Lord Jesus, ensuring me that He was with me. I contained to pray and sing as I drove down the road so that I wouldn’t start blubbering at the gift of grace. As the rain washed over me, I was challenged to pray with a stronger intensity for those I love. God brought people to my mind and I began to pray for them with a stronger focus than before. I couldn’t see the road; my windows began to fog up. I would frantically wipe the window with my sweaty palm. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. When I was too stressed to pray properly or coherently, I simply said His name over and over again. His presence was with me. His presence was with me. He parted the Red Sea. Jesus came from Heaven and died on the cross and rose again. He was the one with me in the car. Parting the sea of the water in front of me.
When the rain finally stopped, and I saw a star in the sky I was filled with joy. Hope. Hope. I was going to make it. Finally, I reached my destination at midnight. I fell out of my car. My knees landed on the wet grass that stained my teacher pants. All I could do was raise my hands to the heavens and cry “Thank you Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.” I was more aware of the presence of God Almighty than I had been at any other time. He was with me. He still is. And I am grateful. I want to live my life with my knees planted on the ground and my hands constantly lifted in surrender. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.
“Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”