It was his darkest moment, yet he was comforted with an overwhelming sense of the presence of God. 17th Century German pastor, Paul Gerhart, and his family were caught in the middle of the 30 Years’ War. Their home had been destroyed, and they fled to a small hotel for shelter.

Paul’s wife couldn’t take it anymore. She cried out, “We’re left alone. God has forsaken us. There’s no hope!”

Paul did the best he could to encourage her, and he shared all the Bible verses about the peace of God. Then the pastor took a walk in a small garden outside the hotel. His burden grew heavier with each step he took, until he was swallowed up in despair. He prayed, “God, there’s no hope. We have no home, and we’ve lost everything.”

At that moment, the peace of God came over the discouraged pastor, and he knew he was in God’s presence. He didn’t get an instant answer to his prayer, but he had the presence of God. He had hope.

Have you ever wanted to break down and cry? You’re three months behind on your mortgage payments and the bank threatens to foreclose. Or your spouse wants a divorce. Maybe you just had a painful church split. It’s not wrong to cry – I’ve done it myself. But peace isn’t found in God’s answer. It’s found in His presence. Cast your cares upon Him and let His peace flood your heart.

We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts. — A.W. Tozer

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder