By: Ginny Luedeman
September 28, 1998
CS Sentinel

There were three children in my family, and we each loved to sit in the front seat when Mom was driving us somewhere. When it was almost time to go, we would race to stake our claim to the front position by getting there first. We all hoped that possession would be nine-tenths of the law. Usually, however, Mom would remember who had had the front seat last, and she would make us take turns.
The question of “who got there first” has helped me when I’ve had to face much tougher situations. Who is always there ahead of the problem, no matter what the situation? God. If I have tried my hardest to solve a problem, when my prayers feel like I’m hitting a brick wall, I have found it extremely comforting to remember that God got there first.
Christ Jesus demonstrated this “already there” quality of God’s presence. Jesus’ friend Lazarus became ill (see John, chap. 11). When Jesus heard of the illness, he seemed undisturbed. The Bible tells us that he said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” (verse 4). We can be sure that Jesus had complete confidence that God was in control of the situation. Jesus must have known that Lazarus was safe in God’s all-embracing care. As the account continues, Jesus traveled to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, only to find that his friend had been dead and buried for four days.
Everyone at the scene was sad and weeping, and Jesus was moved by this to the point that he “groaned in the spirit, and was troubled” (verse 33). Not because he was grieving as well, I believe, but because the people didn’t understand what a wonderful God they had, who had always been there. They were ignorant of God’s great love and of His power to save and heal them. Jesus proceeded to give thanks to God: “Father, I thank thee that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me” (verses 41,42). He knew that God was already there. Jesus then brought Lazarus back to life through the power of God’s love. What better proof could he give the people of God’s presence and power?
Once, for a number of days, I found it difficult to swallow or speak because of a growth in my throat. I turned my thought to God. In prayer, I argued mentally that the evidence of a growth was not what it seemed. I claimed that God, pure Life and Love, was everywhere. Even where it appeared that illegitimate growth was taking place, God’s power and allness were there, loving and protecting me. Within a short time the growth was expelled.
I felt a wonderful sense of freedom and love, like a child being hugged by a parent. I felt hugged by God! The idea “God got there first” helped me see that only good preceded, presently filled, and would forever protect, every aspect of the life God gives to man, and that God’s man is purely spiritual.
Our prayers, reaching out for spiritual understanding, are answered by our loving Father-Mother God. He wouldn’t give His space, His allness, to evil of any kind, not even for a short period of time. We can claim with authority, as well as a growing appreciation, that the great power that comes with spiritual understanding is that God is here, now. The Bible says it beautifully: “Thine, O Lord, is the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all” (I Chron. 29:11). God was here first. And He always will be.

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Ginny Luedeman


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