I wrote in Overcoming Anxiety – Part 1 that in my efforts to address anxiety and lay down this struggle, “I had pinned an image from freshdayahead.com years ago that listed 33 scriptures about fear and anxiety. I found that pin and started studying and meditating on one of those verses each day.” As I studied these verses and even a few others, the concept of God being with us as a means of peace became very prominent.
“Do not be afraid, for I am WITH you.” Isaiah 41:10*
“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are WITH me.” Psalm 23:4*
“When you go through deep waters, I will be WITH you” Isaiah 43:2*
When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush and called him to confront Pharaoh to release the Israelites, Moses resisted in fear and insecurity, but God responded with His grace and power in the declaration, “I will be with you.”
But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt you will worship God at this very mountain.” Exodus 3:11-12
What a beautiful response to the question of our value, significance, and identity, especially when we’re challenged with a task or circumstance much greater than ourselves. When Moses asks God of what value or influence he is that he could go before Pharaoh to make such a bold demand, God doesn’t directly answer his question. He doesn’t build Moses up with his accolades and a list of his credentials, but rather claims Moses’s identity as being found in Himself. God qualifies Moses as being worthy because he is WITH God; he is chosen by God. He takes all of the pressure to perform off of Moses and puts it on Himself.
Jesus demonstrated this same idea when He called Peter out of the boat to walk on water in the storm. Peter momentarily transferred his focus from Jesus to his circumstances which filled him with fear and caused him to sink. He called out to Jesus, “Save me, Lord!” (Matthew 14:30)
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said, “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Matthew 14: 31-32
Jesus rescued Peter during the storm and walked with him through it back to the boat. It is easy to picture Jesus and Peter walking on a serene or only mildly choppy ocean, but the storm, that was so fierce Jesus considered the disciples in serious trouble (Mark 6:48), didn’t calm until they got back to the boat. Jesus reached out for Peter immediately, but the storm was still raging on. When Jesus rescues you, it doesn’t necessarily mean the storm’s over, but it does mean that He is walking it with you. For He says, “Take courage. I am here.” (Matthew 14:27)
Ultimately, peace isn’t in your storm being over, but in the presence of God. We’re all guaranteed storms, but we also have a hope in the Prince of Peace and this hope is a mighty and trustworthy anchor for our souls. (Hebrews 6:19) I am confident that you can find peace in His presence, no matter your storm.
“I can never escape from Your spirit. I can never get away from Your presence.” Psalm 139:7