The Promise of His Presence

Melanie —  November 14, 2013

I love how God uses music to speak to my spirit.  I can look back at various times of difficulty in my life and remember songs with words and music that have encouraged me and helped me keep my eyes on Jesus.  The other day I took the kids to their swimming lessons and we put a cd on that my sister had made for me awhile back.  It’s a cd I’ve enjoyed for a couple years, but I felt I I was hearing the words to one Steven Curtis Chapman song for the first time . . . “Jesus Will Meet You There.”  Here are just a few of the words:

When you think you’ve hit the bottom
And the bottom gives way
And you fall into a darkness
No words can explain
You don’t know how you’ll make it out alive
Jesus will meet you there

And when the doctor says “ I’m sorry, we don’t know what else to do”
And you’re looking at your family
Wondering how they’ll make it through
Whatever road this life takes you down
Jesus will meet you there

He knows the way to wherever you are
He knows the way to the depths of your heart
He knows the way cause He’s already been where you’re going
Jesus will meet you there

We got stuck in a traffic jam on the way home from swimming so we had lots of time to listen to this song and the other beautiful songs on the cd.  The kids asked me at one point why “Jesus Will Meet You There” kept on repeating!  (It was me putting it on over and over as I felt like it was really speaking to me.) I don’t claim to be going through anything nearly as hard as some of the descriptions in the song, but it hasn’t been an easy time for us recently.  I am thankful that He knows the way to “where I am” right now.  He also knows where we are going and we know has incredible plans for us.  In the moments of struggle, He is there with us.  What an amazing Saviour.  I think the reason the song comforted me so much was the promise of His presence in whatever place I am, whatever I am feeling or facing.  As Christians we go through all the same stuff (and sometimes more?) as people who don’t know Jesus.  But we have Him with us. And that makes all the difference.

I haven’t done much reading over the past few weeks.  I haven’t had the time or the concentration, but a friend sent me an amazing book called, “Kisses From Katie” which is rocking my world.  It’s about a young American woman who went to Uganda and is making an incredible difference in the lives of the poor and needy, especially children.  Her heart for Jesus is inspirational.  I think I am going to have us read it out loud as a family.  I think God knew I needed to hear the messages in this book right now. I just set it down a few minutes ago and keep thinking of these words that I read:

“When I have a rough day, or several rough days in a row . . . I can easily forget why I do what I do.  I used to repeat to myself, ‘Do not forget in the darkness what you have been promised in the light.’  When my days are dark and difficult, I am tempted to look around and think, Why? Why do I do this? . . . Why did I leave family and friends to go to a land of strangers?   What am I doing here?  I do not usually forget the answer to all these questions: ‘For Jesus. Because He called me to this and because He gave His life for me.’ This means that it has been granted to me, it is my privilege, not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for Him (see Philippians 1:29).  That suffering is not alone, but is with Him, and oh, what a privilege it is just to be in His presence, to share that with my sweet Savior.  This is what it means when I say I do it for Jesus.  He loved me first.  I love Him back.  And sometimes it hurts.  But even then it is pure joy to even be considered worthy to share in His suffering.  That is the promise; not that He is sorry that it hurts, but that He sees; that He knows; that He is here with us.”

The challenges that Peter and I face are nothing compared to what Katie has gone through or what many others have sacrificed for Jesus.  I don’t want to give the impression that life is totally dark for us right now.  But pain is pain and all pain is painful.  However, we do count it a huge privilege to pour ourselves out for Him in response to His amazing pouring out of Himself for us.  And we thank Him for the fact that He meets us in all our struggles.  Even before we face them, He is already right there with us.

We continue to have much to be thankful for in life and ministry.  Peter had a very encouraging and fruitful trip to Oregon and this week’s Cor Deo preacher’s intensive is going very well so far.  Our new church group is growing in love for one another and the spirit among us is so encouraging as we look to the future.  We are getting ready to send out an email update so you should be receiving that very soon.  As always, thank you for your prayers and encouragement.