All of us feel lonely at times and need assurance. I know I sure do!
Friend, if that’s how you’re feeling today, you’re going to get some truth you can hold onto in this episode of the 4:13 Podcast. Pastor and best-selling author Max Lucado is with us, and he’ll remind you that you can trust in the power and presence of God. You’re never alone, and you’re never without hope, help, or strength.
You probably already know Max and may have even heard him talk about happiness in Episode 63, but I’m going to introduce him again just because!
Max is often called “America’s pastor” and is considered the leading inspirational author in the United States, with more than 140 million books in print in over 54 languages. You’ve probably read some of his books or seen him on the TODAY Show or Good Morning America.
He’s talking with us about his newest book, You Are Never Alone, and diving into the miracles of Jesus. You’ll learn how the miracles of Jesus represent God’s nearness to you right now, and you’ll be encouraged to remember that, as Max says, “you are stronger than you think because God is nearer than you know.”
We all need the power and presence of God in our lives, even on our best days. So, call all your people, and let everybody know that this practical encouragement and biblical wisdom is for all of us!
4 Truths to Help You Trust in the Power and Presence of God
- When you can’t, God can. Max shares the story of his conversation with a woman whose teenage son was in the ICU, recovering from a car accident. She’d been in the hospital all night, her husband was AWAL, and she looked exhausted. At one point, she told Max, “It’s just me, and I ain’t much.” He says her sentiment that night is a good description of loneliness. It’s when we feel like the challenges are greater than we are and we have no resources. It’s when we feel like there’s no one we can call on or turn to in our need.
But Max says the miracles recorded in the Gospel of John remind us that when we can’t, God can. Max shares that one of the things that’s unique about John’s gospel is that John declares the book’s purpose (John 20:30-31). John wrote that the book’s goal was to impart vibrant, joyful, sturdy, steady, resilient life. When we read and study Jesus’ miracles recorded within it, it helps us overcome the sense that it’s all up to us and we ain’t much.
Today, if you’re feeling like the woman in the hospital, take the time to realize that even if you can’t, God can. Not only are you reminded of this in John, but throughout Scripture. Psalm tells you that God is an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). In Deuteronomy, God promises never to leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). And, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus promises, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Because God is nearer than you know, you’re stronger than you think.
- When you feel stuck, God is there. One of the miracles John records in his gospel takes place at the Pool of Bethesda. In Jesus’ day, this is where the sick and those desiring healing would congregate. Max explains that Jesus’ presence there tells us that He’s present in communities of hurting people—both then and now. He goes on to talk about a man who had been there for nearly forty years. Jesus singles him out and asks, “Do you want to be healed?” To his credit, this man answers, “Yes.” So Jesus tells him to stand up, take up his mat, and walk (John 5:8).
Max says it’s this question that Jesus asks the man that really gets our attention. We tend to assume that people want to be healed or have their prayers answered. Perhaps John included the story because there are times in our lives when, like this man, we get stuck. We grow accustomed to the sickness or the challenge. And, if pressed, we don’t know if we want to go to the effort of stepping into a better version of ourselves.
You may feel stuck right now. It could be that you’re in a season of despair, and you’ve gotten accustomed to despair. Or maybe you’re used to something else such as unemployment or struggling with your emotions. If that’s you, you can trust that God’s power and His presence are sufficient to help you get unstuck and move forward.
- When you’re in a storm, God is with you. Max also unpacks John’s account of when the disciples battled a storm on the Sea of Galilee (John 6:16-21). Jesus had told the disciples to cross the sea, and they obeyed—and, now, they found themselves facing this difficult and exhausting challenge. Here’s what Max says is really interesting: When Jesus came to them, He came in the middle of the storm. He could have stilled the water or stopped the wind from the shore. But instead, He walked right into the middle of the storm.
Sometimes, we’re in the middle of the storm and we don’t see an end in sight. Neither did the disciples. But they did see Jesus. So, while we may not know precisely how God will respond to our storm, He is with us. He’ll never leave us.
No matter what storm you’re walking through, God is with you. He’s there in the emergency room. He’s there in the quarantine house. He’s there as you’re filling out yet another job application. He’s right there with you. At the right time in the right way, you’re going to see a change and the storm is going to stop. But until then, keep rowing the boat. Don’t give up.
- When prayers go unanswered, remember God is kind. Everything begins and ends with the character of God. All of us have injured seasons and many of us live with the fact of unanswered prayer. Max shares that the only way we can live with unanswered prayers is to understand that our God is a God of good heart. He’s a kind God.
The greatest discovery we can make is that God not only made the world, but He loves the world. So, when we’re in difficult seasons, Max encourages us to believe that God is good and He knows more than we do about what’s needed.
If you’re in an injured season, lean into the goodness of God. Trust that He will do what’s right. It’s not easy to do but—as Max says—it sure beats Plan B where there is no loving God and it’s all up to you. Today, take a step of faith. Keep despair out the door. You can believe that at the right time and in the right way, God will answer your prayer.
Friend, you can trust in the goodness of God. You really are never alone, and it’s not up to you.
Until next week, remember whatever you face, you don’t face it alone. Whatever God calls you to do, you can do it. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength!
Book & Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild
More from Max Lucado
- Max Lucado’s website
- You Are Never Alone: Trust in the Miracle of God’s Presence and Power
- Can I Get My Happy On? With Max Lucado [Episode 63]
- Follow Max Lucado on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.