Is God with Us or Not?

The name of this blog is Renew Us. The name was chosen because my husband told me that the thing that he sees me doing most often is bringing God’s renewal to things. In his words, “you’re constantly bringing life back to people.” That has less to do about me, and more to do about what happens when I get out-of-the-way and let God work through my life. But, in any case, I think that the reason I feel the need to let God have EVERYTHING in me to restore others is because I, myself, need to be restored so much. And that is more true right now than it has been for a long time.

I am in the midst of a very difficult season, unlike any other in my life. There’s not chaos or destruction. For I’ve been through plenty of that. It’s a season of sitting still and waiting. A season of letting God steady and settle me. A season of deepening of faith, true faith. And if you don’t think that’s difficult, even painful, then you’re just dead wrong. It’s a place where things die. They have to in order for the rest of the body and soul to live.

Let me give you an example of what this can look like.

During my quiet time yesterday, I received 1 Peter 1 (see text below). That passage is about understanding that when we trusted Christ with our lives, we were literally born into a new hope – a hope of a life forever with Christ. But it also tells of the tension of still being in this world. Of the difficultly of letting God transform us.  And of the value of faith — a faith that will bring glory to the creator of the Universe.

That seems mighty important. How important can it be? Well, I was also reminded (through Psalm 95) of Massah and Meribah. This place (or places) were the sites where the Israelites were to trust God for provision for their basic needs and they grumbled against Him.  Moses named the place Massah and Meribah because it was there that the Israelites tested the Lord by saying, “Is God with us or not?”

It seems like a simple question, but it cost the Israelite the promised land for that generation. And it’s not because God is mean or evil. God is good. So good that He realized that if they couldn’t thank Him for providing EVERYTHING they needed,including freedom from slavery, then they were going to squander their inheritance. And like a loving father, He held them back.

And so, I got on my face today. Not because I’m holy or pious. My children and husband can attest for that. But because I needed to repent of my unbelief. Of my turning to myself instead of to Him. And I wept. I’m broken about the ways in which I so often question God’s character. I want it to die. And that my friends, is a humbling, painful, but good place to be because it’s a place that invites His presence.

“…even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold, which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1Peter1:6


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