“You hem me in behind and before, you lay your hand upon me… Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” Psalm 139:5,7
As we exit the Christmas season by boxing up the stockings, the tree, and the gift wrap till next year, one thing has lingered behind in my soul, unwilling to be put away. It is the beautiful word “Emmanuel” and the accompanied meaning of “God with us.” I have begun to see and hear the “with-ness” of God weaving its way through every part of our daily lives. To me this life changing truth is primarily based on two different points:
1. God genuinely likes you
2. You two are in it together.
God gently but firmly lays his hand on our back, letting us feel the touch of his presence as he guides us, like a gracious father teaches his young daughter how to ride a bike. Picture this for a moment, wherever you are, God laying his hand on your back between the shoulders as a reminder that he loves you. He wants to be with you in whatever it is you are doing. God genuinely enjoys the way he made you and loves spending time with you. Isn’t this remarkable?!
I often struggle to believe I was made in a good way, thinking instead that I am too much or not enough, or what I am doing does in no way warrant the attention of God Almighty. I sometimes think, “If God really knew me he wouldn’t like me that much.” I think we all can struggle with this kind of shame some days. But God, who is rich is mercy and graciousness, does not let my shame deter him from fully knowing me and voluntarily wanting to spend time with me.
Like an awesome earthly father with a young daughter, God likes to hear my various thoughts on things, likes to carry for me what I cannot carry for myself, likes to play with me even though his skills far surpass what I have to offer, and loves when I reach up to hold his hand when I feel afraid. We are fully known by God, and yet he still sincerely likes us and is here to stay.
Every day in life with God is “Take Your Daughter to Work Day.” His presence is always with us, surrounding us and invading every part of who we are. It sustains us as we walk through fire and flood. He is with you on the challenging path he has asked you to walk down, holding your hand, not going anywhere. What a gift of grace that there is no path so dark I could run down that God would not come chasing after me. There is no circumstantial challenge so great as to cause God to give up on you or question if you were really fit for the task.
It is incredibly powerful to know God is with you in everything. He is with us. He is with us. He is with us. And he is not going anywhere. Feel the touch today of a Father who deeply cares about you. Feel the with-ness of a Friend who will never let you go alone. Emmanuel is here to stay.
– Emma Abernathy