Are you going to send hard-copy Christmas cards this year?
Our first card arrived on December 1st! Wow! What punctuality. I’ll be lucky if the cards I do send arrive in time for New Year’s. But more impressive than the early arrival was the simple, yet profound message “Immanuel – God With Us.”
When I read or hear that word, “Immanuel,” I think of God stepping out of heaven to be physically with us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. True message, good thought, but a bit too, “that was then and this is now.”
God is always with us. More specifically, God is always with you.
Two of my favorite places where that promise stands are Romans 8:38, and Deuteronomy 31:6. Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Listen to the the way Pastor James McDonald brings that truth to light for our right now, every day needs.
“Moses, standing on the exit ramp to heaven, delivered these marching orders (summarized in my words): ‘As you go up to face those giants in the land, you might think they are too strong for you, as your parents feared. But keep in mind—God is with you. You’re going to battle some violent opposition; you might be tempted to retreat. But remember—God is with you. You’ll face overwhelming odds; you’ll be incredibly outnumbered. Fear would be your natural response. But hold onto this—God is with you. This fight is not going to be over in ten minutes or ten weeks; there’s no quick solution. When you think it’s taking too long, remember—God is with you.”
“Be strong and courageous,” the weathered old leader said. “Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” I can imagine Moses adding, “Haven’t we learned this to be true in these forty years? He never left us while we were in the wilderness. He never forsook us but always provided what we needed. Why on earth should you fear now?”
Now as then, the worse the days get, the more God is with you. The harder the trial, the closer He moves toward you.
Are you feeling crushed? He is rushing toward you to stand by your side and help you. When you’re going through hardship, or when you’re heavyhearted and burdened, God rolls up His sleeves and moves toward you in a way that’s unlike any other time. It doesn’t matter if you can see Him working. His approach may not cause you to feel any different. But it’s the truth—God is right there with you. The harder the days get, the closer He leans in so you can hear His voice.
Sometimes it feels like God backs away from you when you hit hard times, but that’s not true. “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).”
Is your heart breaking today? God is rushing toward you. He is always with you.” Amen Pastor McDonald, Amen!
Here’s a favorite song for you: God Is With Us by Love & The Outcome. I pray it blesses you the way it does me.