|This article is authored by Dick Leggatt, President of Derek Prince Ministries – USA and comprises his December 12, 2012 Newsletter.|
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Where is God when it hurts? This question formed the title of a well-known book published in the late 1970s by Christian author, Philip Yancey. Even more, it is a question people have asked for centuries — especially in times when trouble hits.
You may have asked that question yourself. You may be asking it now — right in the midst of a situation where you are hurting and needy.
I’m sure that some people might tend to offer a long theological answer to this challenging matter. However, I want to reduce the answer I would give to an abbreviated, five-word, encouraging response.
Where is God when it hurts? He’s right there with you.
When the Hurricane Hits
In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the entire Atlantic coast of the United States with frightening force, especially pounding the northeast portion of the U.S. The devastation from high winds and flooding was horrific and, many weeks later, the survivors whose lives were impacted by the storm are still fighting to recover and rebalance in the aftermath.
Maybe you or family members or friends of yours in that region were affected by Hurricane Sandy’s damaging force. If so, we stand with you and with those you love—in sympathy and prayer. (I received an e-mail immediately following the storm from a colleague whose close friend had a relative who had been killed by a tree the storm knocked over on her house.) We offer up our intensive prayers in such situations, and urge everyone reading this letter to join with all of us at DPM–USA in continuing to intercede for all of those who have been impacted by this devastating storm.
In addition to our intercession, we have also been on the phones to friends and partners of Derek Prince Ministries in the affected areas to make sure they are all right. Our main question has been, “How can we pray for you?”
Obviously, catastrophes like hurricanes are terrible events. But so are the severe spiritual storms we often encounter in everyday life. In those circumstances, especially when they bring pain and upheaval, it really helps to know that Christian friends are praying for you. Hopefully, that ministry of prayer will always take place. But without diminishing that truth, as wonderful as prayer can be, the greatest comfort of all when you are hurting is to know that the Lord is with you in the midst of your troubles. And that is our main theme in this letter.
It’s amazing to see how many references in the Bible assure us that the Lord is with us when we are facing trouble. If we were to cite all the verses here, this letter would end up being a hundred pages long. But here are just a few citations. In Psalm 27:5, David assures us that in the day of trouble God will hide you in His pavilion, and in Psalm 46:1, God is described as “a very present help in trouble.” In Psalm 50:15, the Lord issues a command: “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you.” In Psalm 91:15, God promises: “I will be with him in trouble.” Nahum 1:7 says, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble.” In one of my favorite passages, Isaiah 41:10, God says, “Fear not, for I am with you…I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you.”
Along with the promises are the biblical accounts. In Jeremiah 33:1, we read that the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah — not while he was in the king’s palace, but “while he was still shut up in the court of the prison.” (Even prison walls could not keep the Lord from bringing help to his chosen servant.) Then there is the account of the three young men whom Nebuchadnezzar threw into the fiery furnace. Looking into the furnace in astonishment, the king himself cried out in Daniel 3:25: “Look! I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Do you know why that fourth glorious man looked like the Son of God? Because that’s who it was — Jesus, the Son of God, who wasn’t content just to watch from afar when those boys were in trouble. He made sure to be right there with them.
Early in my Christian life, a friend of mine gave me this jewel of encouragement: “The Lord doesn’t just answer your prayers. He shows up!” Where is the Lord Jesus when you are hurting? Right there with you.
The God Who Is There
Derek Prince had a particularly strong insight on this truth about the God who is there. In a radio series he recorded a number of years ago called, “God Revealed in His Names,” Derek shared some encouraging perspectives on this aspect of the Lord’s care:
Often, we have the wrong impression that God’s ultimate purpose is somehow to get man to heaven. That really isn’t it. God’s purpose is to bring heaven down to man and, above all, to bring His own personal presence down to man. This is true of every structure that the Lord had built for Him. It was the purpose of the tabernacle of Moses. It was the purpose of the temple of Solomon. Always, it was to be a dwelling place where God could dwell in the midst of His people and never have to leave them….
That’s the climax, that’s the outworking of the divine purpose in human history. Not that God would get man up to heaven, but that God would so deal with man as to make him fit to receive God’s presence as a dwelling place on earth.
We see that same climax of God’s purpose revealed in Ezekiel 48:35, the last verse of Ezekiel:
“The city shall be 18,000 cubits round about; and the name of the city from that day shall be, ‘The Lord is there.’”
That’s the consummation of divine purpose. It’s also the seventh and the last of the covenant names of Jehovah, of Yahweh, the Lord.Let’s look at those seven names in their completeness. First, the One who provides. Second, the One who heals. The third, the One who is our banner. The fourth, the One who is our peace. The fifth, the One who is our shepherd. The sixth, the One who is our righteousness. And then, the seventh, the One who is there — always there, just where you need Him, by your side, right with you every moment. The One who provides, who heals, who is our banner, who is our peace, who is our shepherd, who is our righteousness. He’s right there.
That’s His purpose: to dwell forever with His people. And this is His purpose for each of us individually. That each one of us should know Him as a permanent, indwelling Lord — the Lord who is always there, right in the midst of our hearts and lives.
Proclaiming His Presence
After absorbing all the Scriptures and reading Derek’s insights, I hope you are convinced that the Lord is right there with you in whatever circumstance you are facing right now. Whether you sense His presence with you or not, it would be a tremendous step of faith to declare your trust in Him at this moment — that He is right there with you.
We could easily voice it as a prayer, but I believe it would be even more powerful to profess it as a proclamation. Why don’t you take this opportunity to make a bold proclamation together with us right now?
Lord Jesus, by faith, I proclaim that You are right here beside me in the furnace. I praise You and bless You — the glorious One whom Nebuchadnezzar saw walking about in the fire. You are here with me, Lord, in the midst of all the heat I am facing; and I thank You.As an action of confidence and faith, I take hold of Your righteous right hand. You have said that You will strengthen me and help me, and I thank You in advance for all that You will do in my present situation. I know where You are when I am hurting: You are right here with me. I declare it, Lord Jesus, and I thank You for it. Amen!
Emmanuel, God with Us
Your words have great power in them, and you can be sure that the Lord is pleased with the confident declaration you have just made. We trust that from this point forward, you will sense His presence with you, experiencing His very present help in a new way.
We hope you will allow us to be of help to you as well. It is our privilege to be linked with you in the purposes of God, and that means standing with you in whatever fiery trial you are facing. Please feel free to contact us with your prayer request so we can agree in prayer with you concerning whatever you are facing. And along with our prayers, we want to offer you materials that will be of help as well.
When you visit our website, please make sure to download the two-part radio series, “God Revealed in His Names,” from which we took Derek’s quote. We know the full teaching will be a blessing to you. It is our way of providing help and also of thanking you for your faithful support in the form of prayer and finances. Thank you again for all you do.
It hasn’t escaped our notice, speaking of names, that especially in this season of the year, one of the frequently spoken names of Jesus is “Emmanuel, God with Us.” What a wonderful expression of His ultimate purpose — to be with us always, in every circumstance, even to the end of the world!
Never forget the truth we have discussed in this letter. Never forget the answer to the question: Where is God when it hurts? Now and always, He is right there with you.
P.S. Thank you so much for your faithful support of the work of Derek Prince Ministries. All of us send our love and best wishes for a wonderful celebration of the birth of Jesus, our Savior. Please let us hear from you, and allow us to provide Derek’s free messages for you to download.