It recently came to my attention that a church member who I’ve known and respected for many years has been stricken with a terrible affliction called Paget’s Disease – a bone disease that causes the bone cells to rapidly deteriorate. The bones become very brittle and thus are easily subject to breaking or shattering, and in most cases the disease develops into cancer.
When I receive news of this sort, or when I see some of the prayer requests for brethren caught up in impossible situations, a natural feeling of helplessness comes over me. In situations like these, we feel powerless to effectively help or comfort our afflicted brethren. So I pray for them, and send a note or card that begins with “Thinking of You…”, and usually, at the end of the message, just before I sign my name, I use the phrase, “GOD Be With You.”
“God be with you” is an often used phrase among professing Christians. In the church I typically attend we even have a hymn in our hymnal entitled, “God Be With You.” But do we realize just what we are actually saying in that phrase “God Be With You” when we are communicating with a brother or sister in the church who may be walking through the valley of the shadow of death?
God With Us
When the Great God of the universe Himself looked down upon humanity and saw that we all were afflicted with a fatal disease, even He expressed and then acted upon the sentiment, “God be with you.” The difference between He and us, though, is He has the power to make it actually happen, so He sent Jesus Christ.
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matt. 1:23)
Christ as the Emmanuel shows us the kind of power that is available to those who really want to know God as He truly is, and act in faith upon what they see in His Holy Word. When we use this phrase that is one of His names in prayer, we can rest assured that we are in full compliance with the will of the Great God, who actually sent Emmanuel to BE “God with us.”
In John chapter 16, we see a special promise made to all of us by the One God sent to be with us.
Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. (John 16:22-27)
So we believe in the Father’s love for us, we express that in the love that we feel for the Emmanuel, whom He sent to be, “God With Us,” and we know that we are loved and that our prayers are heard. What this means for us was demonstrated during Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, as He showed us just what kind of power and love His presence brings into our lives when He is WITH US.
In Luke chapter 8, we can read about a small cluster of events that demonstrate the available power of the One Sent as He interacted with those who were graced with His presence in their lives. In verses 26 to 39, Jesus cast a legion of demons out of an individual. As He returned from performing this miracle, “a man named Jairus … fell down at Jesus’ feet and begged Him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter about twelve years of age, and she was dying” (Luke 8:41-42).
But as He went, the multitudes thronged Him. Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped.
And Jesus said, “Who touched Me?”
When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, “Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”
But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.”
Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.
And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” (Luke 8:42-48)
This woman, who had spent all her money on ineffective physicians, was healed simply by touching the edge of Jesus’s clothing. When this healing occurred, Jesus said “I perceived power going out from Me.” The word translated “power” is from the Greek dunamis (G1411) All of the Greek words derived from the stem duna- have the meaning of being able, capable, and may even mean “to will”. But this particular word, dunamis, means achieving, miracle-working, essential power emanating from God’s true nature. In other words, this being, “God with us,” IS power! And apparently, His cup runneth over with it. It’s like He can barely restrain it from pouring out to do good when people reach out to Him in faith, as this woman did.
Now, let’s notice what really happened here. He had people literally crowding about Him, thronging, pressing, making noise, asking questions – and yet, this woman had a faith-based thought in her mind, and she acted on it in silence. She evidently didn’t (physically) say a word before He had discovered what she had done, and she was scared to death when He found her out. But look how pleased He was with her … then He went on to heal yet another by raising Jairus’s daughter (Luke 8:49-56).
We can see another example of Christ’s dunamis at work just a few chapters back in Luke 6. Here power is just radiating out from the One Sent.
And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all. (Luke 6:17-19)
Now based on all of this, I can’t think of anyone that I would like to be in closer proximity to than this Being, and He gives us a wonderful, and re-assuring promise at the end of Matt 28:20, “lo, I am WITH YOU always, even to the end of the age.”
And with all of this in mind, brethren, I can think of no better way to end this blog post than to say, “GOD BE WITH YOU!”