Just Believe: Emmanuel

When life is hard, there is one thing that we can always count on; that is God being present with us.  God is called Emmanuel, God with us, in the bible.  We hear of this name around Christmas time as we celebrate Jesus being born into the world as a child, who lives to eventually die to pay the price for the sins of all who accept him.  However, when we are going through difficult times we may feel alone and wonder why He does not fix our problem.

                The bible says that “God is an ever present help in times of trouble” Psalm 41:1.  It is encouraging to know that whenever we are experiencing troubles in our life, the God who created all of heaven and earth is right there with us.

                I have read several books about practicing God’s presence.  The key word here is “practicing”.  Most of us are aware that God is omnipresent, meaning He is everywhere at the same time.  Yet how many of us are aware of His presence and involvement in our everyday life.   Whether we acknowledge it or not, God is always present with us.  Jesus said to his disciples before He ascended to heaven: “I will be with you always…” Matthew 20:28. 

                For most of us, when we think of God, we do have a belief that He is not too far away, or the belief that He is able to reach us in a moment’s notice.  But we may struggle to believe that He is always present, at all times.  We sometimes have doubts about the truths that we say we believe.  Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples is a good example of this.  Before he could believe Jesus had been raised from the grave, he needed to see him, and touch his scars.

                Even though Jesus may not physically manifest himself to us, it does not negate the fact that he is always present with us, even now.  In Exodus 33:18-20, Moses saw God in His glory, but because of God’s exceeding glory, Moses was only allowed to see God’s face.  From this I gather, that seeing God in His glory would be too much for us to handle.  However, as with Moses, He gives us a sense of His presence.  How do we get a sense of God’s presence?  How do we know He is with us?  Here are some suggestions:

First, we must believe that he is with us as he said he would be.  

Secondly, we must “practice” his presence, constantly reminding ourselves that he is present. 

Thirdly, we must meditate on God’s word to us which helps us to tune out the voices of unbelief. 

Lastly, we must pray to God, believing that He is with us and for us.

                It seems ideal that God would instantly fix every problem that we encounter.  I can remember a time in my own life when I felt a very strong sense of God’s presence after a painful experience.  I knew it was God with me at that time.  But even though God was with me, I experienced no vengeance, or reconciliation, only His comforting presence.  God did not change the circumstances, but He gave me an abundance of hope in the midst of a difficult situation.  There was something mind changing about acknowledging the God who put the stars and planets in their place, was with me, extending His love and compassion.

                God is our Heavenly Father, and He is the perfect parent.  He does not always fix our problems, but He will always be there to help us through our problems.  He says: “When you go through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze (Isaiah 43:2).  This passage gives an illustration of difficult times that we all experience, but the good news is “Emmanuel”, God is with us, and He promises to help us through when life is hard.

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