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Today’s Truth

Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means “the Lord is my banner”) (Exodus 17:15 NLT).

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During her kindergarten year, my daughter had a variety of puzzling symptoms that caused her organs to start shutting down with septic shock. During the days on the ventilator in the ICU, I felt God’s presence and power in a way unparalleled to any other time in my life. But I wasn’t prepared for the battles I would face after going home.

My other children had been displaced during the long ordeal and needed extra attention. My daughter was getting better but still required daily shots in her stomach because of a blood clot that resulted from a central line IV. To say I was weary would have been an understatement. But the crazy thing was the battle going on in my mind. I had stood firm in faith in the midst of the scary parts of the journey, but now that things were mostly better, I began replaying the original incident over and over in my mind.

What if I had gone to the ER sooner? What if I had pressed harder with questions and advocated harder for her in the early days of her symptoms? I knew that playing out these scenarios accomplished nothing, yet I was plagued with a battle in my mind.

God’s character revealed in His names can help us stand firm when we find ourselves in the midst of a battle – whether the struggles are mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual. One of His names is Yahweh Nissi: the Lord Our Banner. The first mention of this name is found in Exodus 17. After the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, sang a song of praise, and complained about bitter water, they stood face to face with an enemy army. They were weary from travel and harsh conditions. They were asking a question we sometimes ask when we face challenges: Where is God when I need Him most?

When we find ourselves here, we can complain or we can seek God. When we are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, we often are called to battle. While we may not have a physical army in front of us, we may be battling bad habits, addictions, and choices.

Yahweh Nissi reminds us that we have a source of strength in our weakness. In scripture, a banner was an object that represented something greater. In Exodus 17, Moses’s staff served as a banner to remind the people of God’s power. This “banner” was an object to lift high so that, during a weary season of battle, the people could remember that God had performed supernatural works in the past to give them strength in the present!

The people were to look up at Moses’s staff – the object associated with the plagues, the Red Sea, and the water they drank out of a rock. Then they would remember that God was bigger than their enemy. After they won the battle, Moses worshiped God.

Exodus 17:15 says, “Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means ‘the Lord is my banner’).” Like a flag that represents a nation, God wants us to set our eyes on symbols or reminders of His power rather than the strength of the enemy or our own personal weariness.

When we want to quit, we can look to Jesus Christ. He is the banner that shows us how greatly God loves us, and the cross is the symbol of His sacrificial death for us. Through Jesus we have the power to fight every battle.

Some things that have helped me raise a banner of faith include calling a friend and asking for prayer, memorizing or meditating on a Scripture, writing in a journal, and thinking about the cross.

What are some symbols or reminders of God’s help in the past that bring you hope and strength in the midst of today’s challenges? Click on the comment button and let’s share.

Let’s Pray

Yahweh Nissi, help me to remember often how You have worked in the past so I can trust You in the present! Show me what it would look like to raise a banner today remembering all that You have done in my life. Reveal to me those alongside me who need strength and support today. I want to point them to You and support them as they seek You. Give me wisdom also to know how prayer and action are needed in my weary seasons.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn 

What reminders of God’s work in the past can bring you strength in any present battles?

More from the Girlfriends

Check out Melissa’s Bible study titled The Names of God for an in-depth study of Yahweh Nissi and many other names of God.

© 2021 by Melissa Spoelstra. All rights reserved.

16 Responses to “Where Is God When I Need Him Most?”

  1. Tonya says:

    The story about your daughter is also my story. In 2014, I also went into full organ failure and septic shock. I spent 6 months in the hospital battling all the problems that occur from being in the hospital so long. I don’t remember a lot of my time in the hospital but after I came home, I did the same thing you did. I replayed the whole ordeal over and over and wondered how I could’ve avoided getting so sick. Today the symbols I use to remind me of what God has done in the past are: The scar on my throat where the vent was. The song “Overcomer” by Mandisa which became my theme song during the months of rehab and healing. I also use God’s word. It helps me stay close to Him and reminds me of all the miracles He has performed in the past and that He is faithful to those who love Him and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.

  2. Sherri says:

    My God!… I had just finished my morning prayer and was a little discouraged by the new challenges I am facing with trying to mentally and financially support my niece, nephew, grandniece and grandnephew in the sudden passing of my sister.
    In my prayer, I thanked God as I was reminded how He had faithfully provided for my children over the past 30 plus years supporting me as a single parent. I lifted my niece and nephew in prayer, but then began to wonder how do I make the right decisions…then I read this devotional!!! I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving!!
    Thank you God for the new challenges and the confirmation through GIG!!! Blessings to everyone❣

  3. Krystal says:

    Thank you for the word my sister in Christ. The Lord has delivered me from so many things and I will never forget his love and blessings that have kept me!

  4. Karen says:

    God I do not want to face any challenges to be reminded that I need you thank you for protecting me and my children despite of some decisions that I made that have not bring you any glory. Thank you God because you love me and have open arms for me as your child. Thank you for not abandoning me even though I do. Guide me and give me another chance to show you that you are #1 in my life.

  5. Terri says:

    Thank you for this message. The symbol or reminder of God’s help in the past that bring me hope and strength in the midst of today’s challenge is the small, pink ribbon symbol for breast cancer that I have hanging in my living room. The Lord helped me through breast cancer treatments a couple of years ago and I will be undergoing a biopsy today. There is suspicious spot that was seen on my last mammogram and ultrasound. Whatever the report, He will carry me through. Thank you Jesus.

  6. cathy says:

    My banner is a simple bracelet that says “God is Bigger!”I wear it always and any moment of weakness or discouragement, I glance down and read the beautiful message that God is in control of any situation. It has reminded me of the numerous times God has brought me through dark valleys and countless storms without fail. He is Bigger!

  7. Carol says:

    Thank you so much for this writing! What a Blessing.
    Your prayer is so helpful, to remind us that God is Yahweh Nissi!

  8. Monica says:

    Dear Sisters
    We serve a faithful God.When I was in my deepest darkest moments, I questioned God. I was a believer and still I am but during those dark hard times emotions took over and I was very worried and not sure what the world has for me. Coming from another country with my 10 yr old daughter and 2 sons 21 yrs ago we struggled with immigration papers. In the meantime I had to work 2 to 3 jobs to sustain my family.Life was hard.I kept my faith, went to church, prayed that the Lord gives us breakthroughs.I tried to make friends since I did not have any family member here who kept in touch through bible studies and phone calls. Life was very tough and uncertain. I put my daughter through college, I went back to school my self and graduated in Nursing.Daughter finished college in 2012, worked, things were looking good. Then in 2013 my dear daughter at 23 committed suicide.My world ended, I was in in a dreadful,dark place. I had support from friends but after a while they had to go back to their homes, I was in deep shock and pain. But I clung onto the Cross and kept pressing on with the Love of Jesus.He kept me and my 3 boys in the palm of His hand
    I had to be strong for my boys.
    I was dating this wonderful man for a year and after what I went through I thought he was going to call it a day.But the Lord kept him with me. I had a shoulder to cry on.He was there for us every step of the way.We got married that end of 2013 and he has been a true true blessing in everything 🙏🏽 And no nothing will ever replace my sweet Rita, but I praise God for opening doors in my life that I had never dreamed of. I miss her everyday. The Lord continues to show me that she is at peace in His arms.Pray for my 3 sons they are adults now.My 3rd son lives in my home country. I am praying for grandchildren and good life for my boys. We have been through tough times.But because of the Grace of God we are still here praising Him no matter what went through.Lord continue to show your face to us and grant us peace. We serve a mighty God.He is my everything. I pray for all people suffering that God grant them peace and hope.We live in a tough world and the only way to go through it is by trusting God, pray without ceasing and helping people in need.I love you all. Bless my sisters on this forum who have been through so much , Lord comfort us and help us to pray for one another.
    Do we have Bible study on this forum?
    Would love to participate on zoom if possible.God bless you all.

  9. Carole says:

    I have a small tattoo of a cross on the inside of my wrist that I can touch or look at to remind me that I only need to look to Him for strength.
    Carole

  10. Debbie says:

    For myself writing has always been my go to in reflecting how Great is our God.Journaling and writing scripture on an index card is a habit for what I call “Coffee with God” before the sun even rises. I start with repentance for my thoughts,actions,and words seeking forgiveness for my rebellious actions,then move into a period of gratitude,and then into digging into Gods word.

    God provides me with a reading,a scripture,or a messages in every circumstance I face. Almost as if the messages are written for me. I do know they are not,because God is able to speak to everyone at the same time in the circumstances we face.

    My grandmother was a huge influence in my Christian walk. Her life was not without sadness, 3 of her 4 boys,and 3 grandchildren passed away before her. Two of which are my Father and brother. I had always wondered how she kept going and stayed strong in her Christian faith. I did receive an answer when she passed. In her Bible I found several index cards with scriptures written on them in her own handwriting.I realized then that her Joy was completely and 110% as a result of seeking God in her life.

    I have kept these cards in my own bible,along with mine.I keep all of my journals as well. My hope is my Children and grandchildren will be blessed by seeing my thoughts,repentance,and hope found in Gods sweet messages received in my life.

  11. Sherrie says:

    My banner is “Praise.” I actually made a paper flag with the word “praise” on it and pinned it up in my room. This is to remind me to praise God even when things are falling apart, to praise Him before the victory because I know He has already done it. I know this because of all the victories of the past — coming out stronger on the other side of a hurtful divorce, making my peace with infertility, restarting my life and making headway. He’s walked me through so much, and I know He’s doing it again in this season with even more challenging situations — loss of loved ones in just the space of a few months, physical illness in my body and those of other family members, financial wreck, total uprooting, it’s been a very rough season. But I hold on to my banner of praise because I can see His banner of victory. And even though it seems He is waving it at a distance, I know I can use my praise to inch closer and closer to Him, despite the enemies and obstacles in the way. I will trample over them with praise.

  12. Becky says:

    I am thankful for God’s word and Jesus’ examples in all of our situations in life. Thank you Melissa for sharing & I hope your daughter has done well through the things she went through. I am so thankful for our family being healthy and well. My husband & I have 3 sons, 3 daughter-in-laws & 6 beautiful grandchildren. We do have one daughter-in-law that has some kind of mental illness that makes her not trust people & makes her not want our son & 3 of grandchildren to be able to come see us. I pray in Jesus name that her eyes be open to God’s love & understanding. They have been married for over 11 years now & the first 4 years they were married, I really did not know the issues she has or the issues she has with us. We have always tried to let her know how much we love her & to make sure she knows she is a part of our family. But for the last 6 years she always looks for excuses to keep them away. My go to scripture during the beginning of her keeping them away is Philippians 4 6-7. I cried every day for a year. I know God is in control and I know He has protection over us through these years. It has been the saddest & most difficult years we have ever known. My hope & prayer is for our son & grandchildren to be well, happy & to know we love them & we are always here for them.

    In the times we have gotten to see them, I thank God for those miracles & that they see Jesus’s love. Also, when I read or hear of the other situations that girlfriends in God go through & how they lean on God’s word & truth it helps me. Thank you and God Bless.

  13. Jackie says:

    This message hit Home . God Blessed me before I was Born at 7 months only 1 1/2 #.He walked me through so many trials. Still at my side I know my praise inch closer to him ever day. I am now 82 years old.Still walking with our GOD until he calls me Home.He has a Plan for.all.of us.

  14. Willa Eklund says:

    Hi Melissa,

    Thank you for this. I was wondering if you just buy the workbook if you can do this Bible study by yourself? Is there a book that goes along with the work book? Do you need to buy the DVD to do the work book?
    Thanks.

  15. Hi Willa! You can totally buy the workbook and do it by yourself. The teaching videos on the DVD are totally optional! I pray studying the Lord’s names will be a blessing in your life! Melissa

  16. Stephanie says:

    I have a plaque with a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson and this made me think of it. It says, “All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator with all I have not seen.”
    Remembering the times He has brought you through, spoken to your heart, etc, make us realize He is able…..and willing.

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