And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you; He will be with you; He will not fail you or forsake you; do not fear or be dismayed. ~ Deuteronomy 31:8
In the midst of joyous mingling at our wedding reception, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned to see my grandfather waiting to greet us. Our wedding and simple reception were taking place in my grandparents’ chapel building – a modest but beautiful place where they had poured their hearts and lives out in faithful service to the Lord over a lifetime. My grandmother had gone home to heaven just two years prior and after 60 years together, my grandfather seemed lost without her.
But on this occasion, he had a twinkle in his eye and a mission to accomplish! My grandmother was known for hand writing little notes for us, always in gorgeous script and always graced with a healthy dose of God’s Word. In his own way, my grandfather was determined to carry on her legacy and stood in front of us holding a little piece of paper on which he had carefully typed this verse (yes, he still used an old-school typewriter!). He pulled me close enough to make his hearing aid buzz and looked both of us intently yet lovingly in the eye and said, “God’s Word is more valuable than any other gift I could give you. No matter what you face in life together, remember that the Lord is always with you.”
What my grandfather didn’t know was that I had already been pondering these precious words of promise. In the busy days surrounding the wedding, I had gotten behind in my Daily Devotional Bible. That morning I read the “wrong” day, but felt wonderfully encouraged by the thought that these words were the Lord’s gift to us on the day of our wedding. Seeing that little piece of paper in my grandfather’s hand only bolstered my confidence that my God is One who will orchestrate every detail to meet us exactly where we are and deliver His Words that are so true and meaningful! The Lord had brought us to this moment and He would lead us day by day from here.
When taking a few pictures on the front steps of the chapel, we noticed a plaque on the corner of the building, commemorating the year it was built… there carved in stone was the year my husband and I were born! I instantly remembered the words “He is the One who goes before you” and smiled to think that even the building where our wedding would take place was prepared for us from the time we were born! Our God had gone before us… to prepare a building where my grandparents had worked so hard to pass on a legacy of faith in Christ, a passion for His Word, and loving, faithful service to Him.
This past week, many years later, I opened Daily Light and once again found this verse! I couldn’t help but think that the promises that meant so much to us at the beginning of married life, mean just as much and more now, at the beginning of another year together. Our God is eternally true and unchanging. His promises are unshakable. What a joy to appreciate them in fresh new ways as we re-discover them in new stages of life!
Each new year may hold the thrill of mystery, bursting with amazing possibilities and eagerly anticipated occasions and achievements – or it may seem more like thick ominous fog, heavy with uncertainty and concern. Whatever lies ahead, we can rest in the knowledge that He is the One who goes before us. He will be with us. He will not fail us or forsake us. We do not need to be afraid!
His Presence goes with us! We are challenged not to rush ahead of Him or forget about Him, but to “never leave home without Him.” Better yet, we are reminded to follow HIM and join Him in what He is already doing. When fearful doubts hold us captive, we can rest in the confidence that He only leads us in the paths He has specifically and lovingly planned for us and He never intends for us to tackle any of it without Him. He will go with us!
Whether we come aside from busy lives to hear His voice more clearly and be tenderly cared for in the hollow of His hand, or we step boldly forward in the path He has designed for us, the cover of His Presence is our sure and precious promise!
If Your Presence does not go with us, do not move us on from here. ~ My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. ~ Exodus 33:14-15