PROMISE 1: I will be with you.
Recently I read about an incident at the Los Angeles Zoo. An employee named Gary Richmond noticed a cage full of fifteen red-tailed hawks kept in a back room, leftover evidence in a defunct poaching case. They could not be displayed and would likely die in captivity. So, being a rebel at heart, Richmond decided to “accidentally” leave their cage door open and give them a chance to escape back into the wild.
Returning an hour later, he was shocked to see that all of the hawks were still there. So he charged at them like a bear, trying to scare them out. Most of them flew a few feet away but looked back longingly at the cage that had become their home. The hawks got so used to a caged life that they forgot what it meant to be free. Eventually, he gave up and herded them back into their cage.
Each day, we have the opportunity to really trust in God’s true, biblical promises and live in the freedom we have through our relationships with Jesus. We’ve been set free and the cage door is open, but too often we would rather have predictability instead of purpose, boredom instead of bravery, and the empty promise of our cage instead of the unlimited promise of freedom.
God often leads his people into places where they feel overwhelmed. In every case, one promise was given by God himself: I will be with you. Not a promise of comfort, convenience, or construction. He promised to walk with us through overwhelming scenarios.
The promise is spelled out in Isaiah 41:10: “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” John Piper noted the prepositions that come from this passage about God’s presence with us:
“I am your God”… God is over you.
“I am with you” … God is by you.
“I will strengthen you” … God is in you.
“I will help you” … God is around you.
“I will hold you up” … God is underneath you.
Because his presence to help is over, by, inside, around, and underneath you, your temporary fear and discouragement lose their power. Instead, courage and strength flow into you even when it feels like life’s coming off the hinges.
Live free in the promise: I will be with you.