With over 200 instances in God’s Word of the declaration “I am with you,” is it any wonder that God’s heart is to alleviate our sense of aloneness and assure us of His presence? Are we still unwilling to see Him as the Anchor for our souls when we are threatened by life’s storms? Do we ignore His palpable Presence available when we are in the midst of scary circumstances? Do we miss the Quiet Breeze of His Spirit when we are still and prayerful? Do we forget that He is our Refuge when our tears must be poured out and when our fears must be safely processed?
I am currently back at a place of remembrance – a small cottage at the Outer Banks where I spent approximately 10 years doing bi-yearly weekend retreats with my friends, lovingly referred to as the “Outer Banks Girls.” What started out as a Bible study group reunion idea blossomed into now “twice a year” week-long retreats. God has been extremely detectable in this group from long before the actual beach trips. We jumped into the complexities of each other’s lives years ago in a Bible study entitled “Master Life.”
Friends are indeed the best helpers. There has always been a lot of compassion and love in our group. And the wisdom for living came directly from God’s Word. All we did was listen to it and try to appropriate it in all our seasons of life. We had the right credentials – we felt quite weak and ordinary, real messes. But, we had God’s Spirit.
Psalm 46:1-11 says (NKJV), “…God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea…There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her…Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.”
I am reminded that relationships are where we find the best and worst of life. I am very thankful for my friends, the “Outer Banks Girls.” The gift of friendship, especially among Christian friends, is the best of life. Speaking honestly with friends from the heart and in a safe space is a treasure, not to be hidden away, but to be similarly shared with others. We are able to minister because we’ve been ministered to. All conversations have been roads to our relationship with God Himself, the One Who is Present, the One Who is With Us. We have helped each other to be conscious of God and to recognize His voice. And I am extremely grateful.
Acts 2:28 says, “You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.”