Sunday, December 14, 2014

Emmanuel. God with us.

He is the God who is with us.

Through joy, through blessings, when the road is smooth and the weather clear.

Through sorrow, through loss, through hardship. Even when it feels like He’s abandoned us to our circumstances or at least to the storm of our emotions.

Psalm 139 (NKJV) ~ For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

Can we even really comprehend the thoroughness with which God knows us and our situation? With how closely He watches over us and, as this passage says, surrounds us with Himself?

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

These were the words the Spirit whispered to my heart one lonely night, lying in a hospital after the birth of my sixth child, who had been whisked away to the local medical university.  I felt so alone, so desolate, not knowing if he would live or die. If I make my bed in hell ... and yet, He whispered, I am there. Was I swallowed up by darkness? It made no difference, because His eyes  penetrate the deepest shadow. Indeed, to Him there is no difference between light and dark.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

Every one of our days is mapped out by the brilliance of God’s genius. That means nothing happens by accident—which may not be a comfort, when we consider how hard (or purposeless) some things seem to be. But can we trust that He does indeed have a purpose?

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.

Even His thoughts are with us. His very thoughts. He doesn’t set our lives in motion then walk away ... He’s paying attention. All the time.

19 Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!
Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
20 For they speak against You wickedly;
Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.

We have it drummed into our heads that it isn’t “nice” to hate anyone ... that it isn’t righteous. But is there not cause to hate evil? To hate the darkness that wreaks such havoc on the innocent?

It is not wrong to grieve the wickedness done in this world. Indeed, evil breaks the heart of God Himself—it is what drove Him, in love, to step down from heaven and become one of us so that He could redeem us and put an end to evil.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

And this is the God we trust to know us, to search our deepest depths, to shape us into what we should be, need to be. The God who loves us. Who became our Savior.

The God who is with us.


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