Immanuel

Immanuel. God with us.

This morning, I felt really encouraged by this quality of our God. I love the context of this name in Scripture, how it was prophesied in Isaiah as an answer to a rebellious king and fulfilled in Matthew to save a rebellious nation.

It is incredible that we have a God who wants a relationship with us. So badly, in fact, that He became flesh and bone. Felt loneliness and pain. Experienced horrific torture and death and, worst of all, separation from His Father. All so that we would not be separated from Him.

When I am conscious of it, I can see evidence of His Presence daily in my life. As I look back over the past year, I can clearly see Him walking through it with me, even if I felt alone and in the dark at the time.

Like when Eric lost his job last spring. I look back on that moment as one of my favorite moments of the past year – and of our first year of marriage. We were sitting on the porch on the hammock after work when Eric told me, and I just remember hugging him, tears welling up in my eyes, and feeling this sense of uncertainty about the future but peace about the present. Feeling more unified to Eric than ever before. And feeling more needy for God than ever before.

The catch, though, is that you sometimes have to look for Him. His Presence, while constant, is not always blatant. And it is not always evidenced in the ways we would want it to be.

Like when we entered September and recognized that seminary – a goal we had set our hearts on for six months – was not a possibility, at least not at the moment. We knew it had to mean that God had something different for us, something better. I felt confused – we had prayed earnestly about this and had were so certain about this direction. But we moved forward in faith knowing that God was involved somehow. And we are still moving forward in faith. We still feel that we are called to vocational ministry, and Immanuel keeps walking with us through unexpected jobs and unexpected opportunities.

O come, O come, Immanuel, and ransom my sinful heart from not always choosing to see Your Presence with me.

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