God With Us

St. Augustine in his Confessions says “You arouse [man] to take joy in praising you, for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” John of the Cross says in his work The Living Flame Of Love how the soul is meant to “cross over from its own empty silence into an expectant quiet that is alive with His presence.” But what does rest look like? What does God’s presence look like?

Since my hospital visit last week, there is a chaos in my heart and mind that is unsettling. My Friday ordeal with the IV’s has left me anxious, at moments even struggling to breathe through the fear of the agony of the memories. I have run to God, searched for Him, begged Him for relief from this oppressiveness. It is one of my tunnel moments where I am clinging desperately to my seat on the train. Only I feel like I am nailed to the cushion and can’t make my way to the dining car or the sleeping berth or the engine room. I am trapped here, weeping at the darkness outside. Yet it is not just for myself that I weep.

The past week it seems I have been assaulted with the news of others who are hurting–death of parents and friends, sick grandparents, cancer diagnoses, hospitalizations, heart attacks, collapse. Sleep evades me. Sometimes it is the nightmares that keep me awake, memories of my hospital stay. Other times I am so overwrought with the needs of others that I lie awake praying for them, for so many. And I search for answers. At times I search for escape, begging God to just give me one day without the news of someone hurt or sick or struggling. I want to run from it all and run far. Yet as I struggle, I realize there is only one place to run. There is only one person to run to. There is only one Savior who can rescue me. He already has.

What it boils down to is what I believe. Do I truly believe that God is sovereign even in the midst of pain? If I don’t believe that, then my God is not sovereign at all, and then He’s not God. And that’s not a God I want. God is not the author of my pain, yet He allows it. Why? Sometimes I think about the answer, and that unsettles me, too. He allows it for His glory. Seems kind of selfish to me sometimes. But at the same time, how can I question it? He is perfect, holy, wise, compassionate, kind, and glorious. Everything that happens will bring glory to Him. That’s why we were made. We weren’t made for this world and this struggle. Sin came into the world and tainted God’s glory. Jesus came into my heart and brought His glory into my life again. How can I not be a vessel of His glory whether in joy or in pain? He is God and I am not.

It is here that I realize the rest comes. It is in knowing who God is. It is in knowing that while I may not feel God’s presence, He is still there listening to my every cry and grieving with me. Immanuel, “God With Us”. That’s why He came–to be with us. Yet He was rejected before He was even born, pushed into a smelly stable to be wrapped in swaddling cloths. Can I reject Him now? Can I reject His sovereignty? I cannot. I can only cling to the truth in my mind and ask for that truth to invade my heart daily. And as I pray, I know I will find His presence and His rest. I long for that perfect rest… the long tomorrow when I will be in Heaven with the One Who rescues me today, not as an escape from this world and these trials, but as an eternal vessel for His glory–daily in His presence.

If you are a Christian suffering with great pains and losses, Jesus says, “Be of good cheer.” (John 16:33) The new house is nearly ready for you. Moving day is coming. The dark winter is about to be magically transformed into spring. One day soon you will be home–for the first time. (Randy Alcorn)

4 responses to “God With Us”

  1. Dearest Angie,
    God bless you my dear sister. The grace of God is at work in you and is overflowing to us. Those who love salvation say let Him be magnified. May I magnify Him with you. Your journey of faith is the road that leads to Him and He is able to keep you.

    In His strength we can do all things through Him,
    Love to you,
    Judie

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  2. Angie,

    I hear you in all this pain and suffering that surrounds us. I’m sharing with you in sleepless nights, unable to shake the pain as I pray for the ones I love. Thank you for your words of truth – It is so good to hear these words from YOU, right now. God is using you. He’s using this cancer.

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  3. Angie,

    You were in my prayers all day yesterday. I so understand the fear and doubt. I understand the nightmares. (I am still having them.) I love you, sweet friend. God will make a way through this! Over and over again I listened to the Casting Crowns song, “Praise you in this storm” on my ipod at night in the hospital. Here are the lyrics:

    I was sure by now
    God You would have reached down
    And wiped our tears away
    Stepped in and saved the day
    But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

    As the thunder rolls
    I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
    “I’m with you”
    And as Your mercy falls
    I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
    And takes away

    And I’ll praise You in this storm
    And I will lift my hands
    For You are who You are
    No matter where I am
    And every tear I’ve cried
    You hold in Your hand
    You never left my side
    And though my heart is torn
    I will praise You in this storm

    I remember when
    I stumbled in the wind
    You heard my cry
    You raised me up again
    My strength is almost gone
    How can I carry on
    If I can’t find You

    As the thunder rolls
    I barely hear You whisper through the rain
    “I’m with you”
    And as Your mercy falls
    I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
    And takes away

    I lift my eyes unto the hills
    Where does my help come from?
    My help comes from the Lord
    The Maker of Heaven and Earth

    I love you sweet friend. I am praying for peace and hope for your soul today.

    Monica Kaye

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  4. Dearest Angie: How I treasure the wisdom and the insight the Lord gives you, and how beautifully you share it with us:)

    I am grateful for you.

    I came across some notes on a bulletin, where I had written your name next to a song…”The King of Love My Shepherd Is”…I love the WHOLE song, and especially the last part…”And so through all the length of days Thy goodness faileth never; Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise within Thy house forever.” You do that so well dear one…you sing His praises, you give us insight, and He makes you more beautiful and dear with each difficulty.

    I pray that you continue to see His blessings in the storms of life.

    In His gracious love, Barbara Gillan

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