It is a promise that I cling to lest I be tempted to worry about the life ahead of me.
When I think of my life, of the things I've worried about, the situations I've lost sleep over, the circumstances that angered or devastated me, God was already there. He was there before I was born.
When I think of this truth, I think of an expectant mother nesting. She's preparing her home to be a safe, inviting place for her new baby. She's preparing in advance for the baby's good.
I think of a bride and her approaching wedding, how she plans for months to ensure that it's a delightful, happy day. She puts in hours of planning to alleviate as much stress as she can on her happy day.
I think of a surgeon, how he preps the operating room, talks through the process with the patient, gives his team of nurses the game plan, and makes sure everything is ready for a surgery that will cause the patient short term pain for long term gain.
But, it can be hard to think that God went before my friends when they miscarried baby after baby, then conceived twins, miscarried one early on, delivered the living twin at 23 weeks, only to hold him as he passed a few weeks later.
Or that he went before a dear couple as they spent a year in and out of the hospital with their 6 month old, on a roller coaster of hope-filled days and hope-less days until losing their precious daughter to cancer.
Or that he goes before my single friends as they long for marriage, wondering if they'll ever have the life they desire.
Or that he goes before the children my cousins fostered, who at the young ages of 3 and 5 already had their minds contaminated in ways I can never understand due to a negligent mother who left them under the care of a man who daily exposed them to pornography.
Or that he goes before the innocent victims losing their lives to cops who are trying to serve and protect our country.
Or that he went before me when I was raped.
And on and on and on...
God was before us in all these things. He was preparing us in ways we don't always see. It doesn't excuse the fact that evil is wrong and I am certainly not saying God is at fault for these tragedies.
What I can't fathom is that God, in His love, went before us for our own good, so that we won't have to suffer alone. It's easy to understand Him going before us in the good things, but the hard, life-altering things? That's when it's easiest to fail to see his steadfast presence and love.
Before I was even a thought in my parents' mind, God had gone before my entire life, preparing me in the womb, creating me fearfully and wonderfully for the life ahead of me. Like an expectant mother gets a home ready, He was preparing my life for me, to be safe. Not safe the way we may think of safe, but safe for the plans he has for me. And like a bride prepares for her wedding, he was preparing me for each event in my life so that I can be a little more care-free knowing he has it all planned out. Not to say I won't experience unexpected things (hello life!), but they aren't unexpected to God. He's already been there. And just like a surgeon prepares for a procedure, God prepares me for life surgeries, those times he allows me short term pain for long term benefit.
Life is really hard sometimes. There are days we feel we can't take another day of our pain, our circumstances, our life. And yet we can rest in the assurance that God is already in our tomorrow, and our tomorrow's tomorrow. He's in our next year, our next season, our next tragedy.
But let's not forget he's also in our next joy, our next victory, our next healed wound.
And he went before us in all these things when he went to the cross so that ultimately we never have to. Nothing we experience in this life will compare to his death for us.
Whatever you're enduring today, remember His great love for you. He's gone before you, he's prepared you for what lies ahead no matter how unprepared and insufficient you feel. Whatever is coming your way, God's ready to fight for you, comfort you, and grow you.
You are loved. Now go confidently. God's already there.