These last few days, I have been reminded of the comfort and confidence that I have in knowing that God goes before me.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut 31:8 )
God tells us that He goes before us. He knows the road ahead and how each step we take will impact our lives. He knows the struggles and difficulties we will face. He knows the joys and excitements that we will experience. He will go before us.
He is always working ahead of where we are, preparing the road ahead.
In many areas of what I do, I’m thinking and planning many months into the future. One of the pitfalls in this is the constant temptation to focus on the “what ifs” of the future. “What if that goes wrong?” “What if we don’t do this?” “What if that doesn’t come through?” As we launched our third campus at The Chapel this past month, I definitely felt the pressure of “what if.” There were so many potential issues to tackle, and any one of them could cause serious issues to the plan.
But God reminded me over and over that He goes before us. God had initiated the work, and He was paving the way, even if it looked rough from where I was currently standing.
God gives us so many examples of this in scripture. The majority of the individuals we see in the Bible experienced God paving the way, going before them, in the steps they are taking. Noah, Joseph, Moses, Daniel, Paul – just to name a few – all saw that God had been working ahead of them and preparing the way for His work to be accomplished
He does the same for me – I couldn’t possibly begin to understand all of what goes into the circumstances around me and the future ahead of me, but God does. When I’m told that God Himself goes before me, and He’ll be right beside me through it all, I have nothing to fear.
He leads ahead of us, giving us Himself to follow:
An entire nation saw God going ahead of them. The Israelites, as they left Egypt and headed towards the future God had promised, had a physical representation of God in view. They could see God leading ahead of them at all times…
“By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” (Exodus 13:21)
God gave them a visible direction to follow and a constant reminder that He was with them. The same is true for us today! He has given us clear direction in scripture to guide us, He’s sent His Son as a visible demonstration of who he is, and He’s given us His Holy Spirit to walk with us every step of the way.
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” (Colossians 1:15)
“Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.'” (Galatians 4:6)
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13)
Scripture guides us, Jesus reveals more of the nature of who God is, and the Holy Spirit speaks to us and guides us daily. So God has obviously gone before and continues to on a daily basis, but we also can’t forget that He has taken a gigantic step to go before us in a very tangible way:
He went before us on the cross:
Before we were even born, God took amazing measures to go before us – paving a way for us to be reconciled to Him. He knew that we would be born sinful and choose to sin. He went before us on the cross to make a way for us.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
It doesn’t get bigger than that – that God would know before time began that He was going to step in and die on a cross for me, before I even took my first breath, because He was going before me and knew that I would need that way provided.
It’s so easy to focus on the future as if it’s a completely unknown. I know that I have been consumed at times in worry and focused on efforts to plan for every contingency. But where I’m headed, God is already there. He knows how it will turn out. And He’s not just a knower of the future – He is sovereign over that future. He’s shaping what’s ahead and equipping me for what He knows I’ll face.
God Himself goes before you. He knows the road ahead and all that it holds for you. He is sovereign over everything and He wants good things for you. He will be with you, and will never abandon you. So don’t fear or be discouraged, but rest in the promise that He knows and He’s in control.