God Isn't Distant in Disaster
Micca Monda Campbell

"Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 (NLT)

The city of Nashville, Tennessee, was declared a national disaster after floodwaters rose last week. Meteorologists are calling the disaster the 500-year flood, which caught thousands by surprise. At least 90% of those hit by the flood are without flood insurance making this blow painful on all accounts.

My family was spared. While we experienced some local flooding, not a drop of water entered our home. Others were not as fortunate. As the Cumberland River filled, it spilled into places with no discretion. The famous Opryland Hotel, the historical Grand Ole Opry House and Schermerhorn Symphony Center, home of the Nashville Symphony, were among countless buildings damaged by the flood. Many citizens lost their homes, their cars, and their lives. When tragedy strikes, it causes some to question God's loyalty to care for us.

In the Bible, God promises His care and protection. Why then does God seem distant when disaster strikes? Is He snoozing on the couch? Is He on a coffee break? Worse yet, perhaps God isn't the promise keeper we think He is. Or maybe we're not looking at the whole picture.

Yes, God promises to care for us. At the same time, He never promised we wouldn't face adversity. Christ warned, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33, NIV). You and I experience Christ's peace when we realize that peace isn't the absence of pressure. It's the presence of God in the midst of our chaos.

As the pressure of stress and worry weigh on us, it's easy to forget or ignore God's peace. Often times it's us who distance ourselves from God—not the other way around. But when you and I quiet ourselves and acknowledge God's presence, peace washes over our anxieties. The truth is God is always near in times of trouble and He cares deeply about our pain.

You and I do not have a God who doesn't understand our pain and emotions. He knows. According to dictionary.com the Hebrew word for "to know" is "yadaa." In Greek, it is "yada" which means "a deep emotional experience; a bonding between two people when one truly feels the emotions of the other." That's our God, friends! He may be working for a higher purpose that we can't understand right now, but He is NOT detached from our pain. Let this truth calm your fears and soothe your heart. God knows; He's been there and He's there still.

Often the trials we mourn are really gateways to the good things we long for, like a deeper relationship with God, greater patience, and a compassion for others. I see this natural disaster as a way for Nashville churches to reach our communities. Whatever God's plan is, we can rest assured it's a good one. While we wade through the process, we have His promised presence, provision, and understanding. Elisabeth Elliot states it this way, "It is God with whom we travel, and while He is the end of our journey, He is also at every stopping place."

Dear Lord, You are with me when I'm strong and when I'm weak. You never leave my side. Today and everyday help me to trust Your promises, experience Your presence, and feel Your love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

An Untroubled Heart: Finding Faith that is Stronger than My Fears by Micca Campbell

Visit Micca’s blog

When Life and Beliefs Collide: How Knowing God Makes a Difference by Carolyn Custis James

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan

Application Steps:
Sometimes God feels far away because we distance ourselves from Him, not the other way around. Draw near to God today. Tell Him your problems, fears, and concerns. Soon, you'll find yourself experiencing His presence and peace.

Reflections:
Why is it hard to trust God in times of trouble?

Does knowing God cares help calm your fears? If not, why?

Power Verses:
Isaiah 43:2, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." (NIV)

Deuteronomy 33:27, "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." (NIV)

© 2010 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Marilyn said...

A fantastic devotion. Thank you. Please God help me to remember that , , ."peace isn't the absence of pressure. It's the Presence of God(Yourself) in the midst of chaos." Oh please help me to remember that You are here NOW!

Thank you, Micca . this devo is the perfect follow up to Lysa devo last Wednesday-"Planning Funerals that will never Happen". These both are great reminders that God has "the whole world in His hands!"

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Horse Prairie Chatterer, this is another reminder of us trusting God through all our hardships no matter what they may be. Even our pastor preached on this yesterday,
trusting God, its not in us, it is in God and only God that we find peace.

Anonymous Nicole said...

The Lord really spoke to me through this devotion. Yesterday our pastor spoke on this same truth. He reminded me through his message and you confirmed it through this devotion today, that no matter how deep our sorrow or Lord is ALWAYS with us. He hurts just like we hurt. He shares our sorrow. What a wonderful thought, that as christians we don't have to go through anything alone.

Blogger MrsLouis01 said...

Beautiful reminder! Praise God! It almost seems like in disaster, God is nearer than ever before. That is when we acknowledge him. If we don't turn to him then it's at that time that he seems "distant". Thank you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our God is indeed awesome! He will never leave us nor forsake us. We praise you
God! We worship you our Saviour! Glory to your name Jesus!

Blogger ~~Just Me in T~~ said...

It is amazing how many people say there is a God - out there somewhere perhaps! I believe in a very personal God... and wanted to share that with you:

Bette Midler in her 1985 song tells us: God is watching us from a distance.
When I pondered on the words to this well known song, it kind of intimated that God is like some giant, All Seeing Eye in The Sky!
I just want to share with you my joy in knowing that God is NOT a BIG EYE in the SKY watching over all of humanity from a distance.
http://justmeintchristian.blogspot.com/2010/07/is-god-watching-us-from-outer-space.html

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