“Have you ever thought about the word amen that we say at the close of our prayers? Do you know the significance of that word, or do you simply say it because that’s what you’ve been taught? “Amen” comes from a Hebrew word that means “this is true,” “I agree,” or simply “yes!”
Do you ever find yourself saying “amen” when you hear God’s Word preached, taught, or sung? If you’ve been around church culture long enough, it may begin to flow from your mouth anytime God’s truth resonates deep within your soul. Every time you say “amen,” you are expressing confidence that God is faithful to what he has said. You’re saying, “I believe what God says is true.” It stirs your heart and then it bubbles up and out.
In 2 Corinthians 1:20–22, the apostle Paul describes Jesus as our Yes and Amen: “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
God Knows Every Detail of Our Lives
God knows every detail and dimension of our lives, from the frenzy of our daily activities to the anguish swirling deep in our hearts. There is not a single moment or a solitary place where we can escape from his Spirit. God is not only with us in all our struggles, but he invites us to draw near to him for refuge. When the Father sent the Son into the realities of the fall, he came not only to reconcile us to himself but also to restore us from all of the ways evil has distorted our lives, damaged our souls, and devastated our relationships.
Paul reminds us that God’s promise of redemption and restoration is fulfilled through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We may struggle to trust that God’s promises are true. We may lack confidence or assurance that God’s Word addresses our specific needs or the reality of our story, but Jesus remains faithful to his promises even when we don’t feel it.
At the end of God’s story, Jesus will ride in on a white horse as the great hero and promise keeper. Revelation 19:11 tells us his name, Faithful and True, will be written on his side. Until that day, God has given us his Holy Spirit as a down payment and guarantee that his promises will be kept both now and forever. Whenever we say “amen,” we give God glory for being the Faithful One who both keeps his commitment to begin his restoring work in us now and will complete it upon his return.
God’s Promises Give Us Confidence in the Battle
The Enemy does everything he can to destroy your confidence in God’s love and his Word. Satan seeks to undermine your trust in God and his promises. How many times have you heard yourself or someone else say, “I don’t know what is true or what is real anymore.” “How can I trust God after what happened to me?” “Why should I care about God when he doesn’t seem to care about me?” “He doesn’t seem to hear or answer my prayers.” “I don’t know what to pray anymore—or if prayer even makes a difference.” When we don’t look to God for help or when we fail to listen to God’s Word, we are like ships in a storm, tossed back and forth by the wind and waves of doubt.
But when we are overwhelmed with doubt, confusion, and a growing sense that we can’t trust God, we should remember the following things that God will never do. He counters every one of Satan’s attacks.
- God will never deceive you, because God doesn’t lie (Numbers 23:19).
- God will never distract you from reality. He wants you to face reality by seeking him (1 Chronicles 16:11; Psalm 27:8).
- God will never discourage you. He promises joy for those who trust and obey him (John 15:9–11).
- God will never divide or separate you from himself. He’s brought you into an unbreakable covenant relationship with himself through your union with Christ (Galatians 2:20).
In the midst of the battle, look to Jesus and remember all that God has promised you. Unlike the empty promises of sin, God’s promises have been thoroughly tested and are guaranteed. God offers hope that will comfort and sustain you. In God’s promises, you will find rest and renewal.
Now we will look at three promises that will help us fight the good fight of faith. You’ll see how these promises address every one of our common struggles.
Promise # 1: God will never leave you nor forget you.
One of the greatest fears you can have is the fear of being alone. That’s why challenges seem to be more intimidating when you are by yourself. It’s why it can hurt so deeply when you are forgotten or abandoned. You weren’t created to be alone, but to live in communion with God and others.
You can also feel alone when you experience great loss. It may be the death of a loved one or a shattered dream, but the heartache seems unbearable and the sense of isolation feels unnatural. You weren’t created to experience death, injustice, evil, or the disease that can often lead to loss. In your sorrow, you can sometimes question God’s justice, goodness, and purposes.
But in the face of your fears and sorrows, God has given you a great and precious promise. “He will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). In Isaiah 49, the people of “Jerusalem complain that God has forgotten them. Listen to God’s response: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me” (vv. 15–16 ESV).
How can God forget you when he has engraved you on the palms of his hands? Jesus is perfect love, so in his presence you can live without fear. Jesus is the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. He bore our grief and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:3–4). So, as you live in Christ, you can live with hope and rejoice in your salvation even in the midst of searing loss.
Promise # 2: Nothing can separate you from God’s love.
In your shame, you can feel worthless and unlovable. In your guilt, you can wrestle with whether or not it’s possible to forgive yourself. Your friends and family may reassure and affirm you, but somehow, you don’t feel relief. The flashbacks and memories in your head convince you that you’ll never be able to escape the traumatic memories. You may feel a sense of regret and you beat yourself up, wishing you could have responded differently.
Is there any good news in the midst of your shame and guilt? Paul declares the good news to us: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35, 37–39).
Your shame and guilt cannot separate you from God’s love. God dealt with all of your reality through the cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus was shamed for you (Hebrews 12:2). He took your guilt and shame upon himself so you can live freely now before him. Moreover, Jesus suffered injustice and judgment so you can receive God’s forgiveness, release your anger, and forgive others. Only God’s promise of relentless love and forgiveness in Christ can transform your shame into confidence and joy and replace your guilt with humility and gratitude before God.
Promise # 3: God’s love is better than life.
When we’re in the midst of a struggle, we tend to reach out to people for help, to books to give us a better understanding, to food and drink for comfort, and to shows or video games as a way to escape. None of these things are inherently wrong. It’s wise to seek counsel and do research before making a big decision. It’s good to enjoy God’s gifts and to rest. But do you tend to seek refuge in things you can see, taste, or touch more than finding refuge in your God? Are there times you are tempted to run away from reality to escape the difficulties of life or to satisfy the longings of your heart? This is the same sinful fantasy Adam and Eve indulged in the garden when they dreamed of a future apart from God’s word and ways.
“In the face of our fantasy, the Creator promises us that he is better than the tangible realities of life. He hasn’t given us his good gifts in creation so we can serve those gifts, but so we might give thanks to him as the giver. Moreover, God knows that we most naturally understand life through concrete realities. That’s why he uses stories and metaphors to communicate the reality of his goodness. Consider the way the psalmist delights in God:
Because your love is better than life,Psalm 63:3-5
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
God uses tangible realities to point to the more glorious yet seemingly intangible reality of his love. God created your body and soul so that you not only experience his love, but you will know him personally and remember that he is the giver behind all of the good gifts. Only in him will you find your ultimate satisfaction and refuge. God wants to overwhelm you with his love and compel you by his love so that you will no longer live for yourself, but rather live for him.
Excerpt adapted from Restore: Changing How You Live and Love ©2020 by Robert K. Cheong. Excerpt may not be reproduced without the express written permission of New Growth Press.
Photo by Conor Samuel on Unsplash
RESTORE: CHANGING HOW WE LIVE AND LOVE, STUDY GUIDE WITH LEADER’S NOTES
In Restore: Changing How We Live and Love, pastor and author Robert K. Cheong shows us that because we have been united to Christ, we can draw near to God, enjoy his love, and live with new patterns and life rhythms.