One winter day, shut inside my house, I became despondent and battled the urge to cry. But I knew tears were inevitable, and they would soon splash down my cheeks despite my efforts.
Isolation didn’t come from snow and ice blocking the driveway, but the possibility of infection. My immune system was compromised from chemo treatments.
Despite the warmth radiating from the wood stove, a stack of cards with messages of love in a box near my chair, and a cup of hot tea steaming in a faith-themed cup which was a gift from a friend, I felt alone and forsaken.
I wandered through the house, eventually crawling into my bed and wrapping myself tightly in the blankets. I wanted to count on God even in this hard time. So I asked God, “May I crawl under the shadow of your wings?”
Immediately He answered. “You are already there.” Ordinary blankets became the wings of God, and I was enveloped in His love and security.We can ask God if we can crawl under the shadow of His wings, because we can always count on Him to be there for us.
Why We Can Count on God
“He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b HCSB
We often recall this scripture in times of trouble when we want to count on God. We may be diagnosed with cancer and must endure a lengthy treatment. Someone we interact with almost daily may die, and our lives are forever changed. We may be blindsided by a job loss, and our savings may not be enough to cover the bills.
Yet this verse has limitless applications. When we are in Christ, we can count on the steadfast love of God, which is as vast as the heavens (Ps 57:10).
To ensure I never forget, I began to list the ways I can count on God. Grab a notebook and join me. Here are several I uncovered to get us started.Here are five ways we can count on God to be there for us anytime.
We can count on God because He pursues us.
“But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” – Romans 5:8 HCSB
Sometimes we think we can mess up so badly God will not want to sit with us, help us, forgive us, or love us.
Adam and Eve thought that when they ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. How do we know? They hid from God.
Yet we are told Christ died for us while we were still sinners. There is no need to hide from God, nor can we do so.
John Stott writes about this pursuit in his book “Why I Am a Christian.” In a chapter titled “The Hound of Heaven,” based on a poem by Francis Thompson, Stott writes: “Why I am a Christian is due ultimately neither to the influence of my parents and teachers, nor to my own personal decision for Christ, but to ‘the hound of heaven.’”
“That is, it is due to Jesus Christ himself, who pursued me relentlessly even when I was running away from him in order to go my own way. And if it were not for the gracious pursuit of the Hound of Heaven, I would today be on the scrapheap of wasted and discarded lives.”
If we were to ask sisters in Christ to tell us their testimonies of how they count on God, we would discover example after example of pursuit. We can also examine our own stories to see evidence of God’s pursuit.There is no need to hide from God, nor can we do so. Christ died for us while we were still sinners, so we can count on His unconditional love.
We can count on God because He convicts us of our sin.
“Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” – Romans 2:4 HCSB
When the Holy Spirit reveals attitudes of the heart that are unbecoming for a child of God, I am so grateful. I know that conviction of sin is an act of love. Jesus tells us in John 16:13a HCSB, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”
He wants us to be the masterpiece God created in Christ Jesus, walking in the good works prepared for us (Eph 2:10). The conviction is like a sculptor’s chisel, chipping away stone to shape a piece of art.
He reveals attitudes I would rather deny, such as self-pity, jealousy, resentment, or dissatisfaction. Yet it’s not a public display of humiliation; it is heart-to-heart. When I see what’s truly in my heart and who I am without God, I want to change. God’s kindness is intended to turn us from our sins.
Take note of God’s kindness throughout the day, then praise Him for loving you so much that he wants you to be like Him.When I see what’s truly in my heart and who I am without God, I want to change.
We can count on God because He teaches us all things.
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.” – John 14:26 HCSB
Jesus tells us the Holy Spirit will teach us all things and remind us of all things. One of His best teaching methods is correction.
Hebrews 12:5-6 says God disciplines those He loves. The Greek word for chasten is paideia, which means “education or training” and implies “disciplinary correction.”
As a church youth group leader, I once asked the teens the purpose of discipline. They were sure it was punishment. Yet the tardy slips they accumulated when they arrived late for class at school eventually led to detention, the consequence of tardiness.
To avoid having to stay after school, they would begin to be punctual. Discipline is a method of instruction used by God.
We can find additional examples of God’s fulfillment of His promise not to leave us nor forsake us simply by counting the various ways He teaches us.We can count on God to teach us all things and remind us of all things through the Holy Spirit.
We can count on God because He never gives up on us.
“I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 HCSB
We all have a learning style. Some are visual learners, partial to seeing and observing. They learn by pictures, diagrams, and written directions.
Auditory learners prefer lectures and reading out loud. Kinesthetic learners are hands-on, learning best when they can touch and handle things. Reading and writing learners prefer articles, books, and journaling as their teaching tools.
Since God is all-knowing, the Holy Spirit is the most insightful teacher we will ever have. He can pitch lessons to us in multiple ways until we finally get them.
A friend always tells me about the lessons she observes in nature from the Holy Spirit. The message may be delivered by the shape of the clouds in the sky. Most likely, she is a visual learner.
Focusing on God’s lessons throughout the day would surely increase awareness of how attentive God is to us.God never gives up on us, and He reaches us according to our unique learning styles.
We can count on God because wherever we are, He is there.
“So she named the Lord who spoke to her: The God Who Sees, for she said, “Have I really seen here the One who sees me?” – Genesis 16:13 HCSB
Hagar, Abraham’s concubine who gave birth to his son Ishmael, did what most of us want to do when we are in circumstances that overwhelm us. She ran.
In modern times, this is a desire to drive off into the sunset. Yet God knows where we are located not only physically but spiritually, and always watches over us in love.
God saw Hagar’s despair and provided insight and direction (Gn 16:7-12). The God who sees us is known as El Roi.
It was El Roi who tucked me in my bed that afternoon during my cancer treatment when I was despondent. He saw my need and met it, and proved I can count on God.
To count the ways He meets our deepest needs would surely confirm we are never forsaken.God knows where we are located not only physically but spiritually, and always watches over us in love.
To Count on God, Keep Counting
“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” – Lamentations 3:22-23 HCSB
What are some of the reasons you can count on God? Take the time to write your list today. If we all combined our lists, I am sure we would be amazed by God’s faithfulness.
We need these lists for the moments when we become dismayed, dejected, defeated, or disheartened. Ask anyone who has received news of an auto accident, a health emergency such as a heart attack, or had to hide in the basement from a tornado.
In those moments, we can recall our lists for the reasons we can count on God and find instant encouragement.
Although we don’t know how God will sustain us, we can be certain He will, because we have taken the time to learn His track record. We have many reasons we can count on God, and we can keep counting them every day.
– Susan Cort Johnson
Susan Cort Johnson blogs at A Place to Meet and mini-blogs on Instagram, focusing on Hebrews 10:24-25. In addition to her writing ministry, she leads women’s Bible study at her church, where honesty abounds so true transformation can occur as God’s Word is applied. She enjoys discussing biblical concepts with like-minded people, especially while sipping a cold brew coffee with sweet cream.