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Posts Tagged ‘God’s presence with us’

Sometimes it’s easier to get up in the morning than other days, isn’t it? Perhaps we did not sleep well or had a late night and need those extra few minutes—or hours—in bed. Sometimes too, it depends what lies ahead of us in our day. If there is something exciting or interesting for us to do or to be at, we may well bound out of bed. But if we know we need to clean the house or do some other dreary job or go somewhere like the dentist or do something else we dread, we may indeed want to hide under those bedclothes a while longer. Or perhaps there may be even bigger challenges awaiting us in our day, such as those dealing with severe health issues may face—or those currently trying to clean up huge messes after our recent floods.

Yes, if we are being honest, some days it can take a little time for us to get to that place of feeling we can conquer what lies ahead. And, according to our personality or life situation, we may have different ways of tackling the issue. Some of us may choose to stick to a particular routine. We may like that early morning cup of tea or that shower or breakfast first off, followed by working our way through a particular regimen we have devised. Then, as my husband declared recently, on completing his meticulous morning routine, we can say with a smile, ‘Now I’m ready to face the day!’ As for me, I am much more likely to be uncommunicative first off and fumble through until I can surface and gather my wits!

Years ago, we used to mind our oldest granddaughter each Friday. Her father would arrive on our doorstep by around 7.00am and present this slightly sleepy looking bundle of little girl to us, complete with all her gear, before diving off to his teaching job. We would cuddle her for a while, give her breakfast and dress her, by which time she would be more awake. Then, when we headed outside to play or to go somewhere, she would often look up at the sky and say, ‘Lovely day!’ in such a cute way, just as her mum would no doubt say to her often.

Yet sometimes we might find it hard to see our days as ‘lovely’. Sometimes, it may well be a matter of needing to take courage and simply get on with the day ahead—because things have to be done. Yet even then, God is still there. In fact, on these days, I have found it is even more urgent to stop, to remember this, to acknowledge honestly to God how I am feeling and then to sense God’s Spirit comforting and filling me yet again. I know God is with me. I know God loves me utterly. And I know I can trust God, whatever is happening around me.

May you too know that deep certainty in your hearts, whatever the day ahead might hold for you.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24

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Have you ever thought about all those billions of memories stored inside your brain? We can consciously remember so much—but even when we think we have forgotten certain experiences altogether, some little thing may happen that catapults us back in time, whether we like it or not. In an instant, we are in the midst of some past event again, noticing everything in vivid detail and even feeling the same emotions we felt then.

This happened to me recently when our washing machine decided not to spin anymore. I resorted to washing by hand—and immediately, a memory surfaced from around fifteen years ago when I was travelling around Turkey with a friend. Often, we would wash our clothes in the shower, then drape them over chairs on our balcony to dry. In an instant, I could hear again in my mind the voices of the nearby shop owners vying for custom, smell the freshly baked bread and feel the warm Mediterranean sun on my arms. In my mind, I was back there in Turkey, revelling in it all once again.

But I know painful memories can sometimes be triggered too and catch us completely off guard. Years ago, I experienced this in a public setting, to my embarrassment. Everyone else was laughing at something funny that was happening, but I found it hard not to cry, as it triggered a memory of a distressing event in the past. Yet I was thankful for this painful moment in the end, since it helped me understand the agony those who have survived great trauma in their lives often experience on a regular basis via flashbacks.

As I thought more about these memories, both good and bad, I sensed God prompting me to apply my reflections to my faith journey too. Yes, I can remember many times when God lovingly rescued and strengthened me in all sorts of situations and when I sensed Jesus’ presence right beside me, even to the point of feeling his hand on my shoulder. But it was as if God wanted me to realise there have been so many other such occasions that have now passed from my conscious memory—difficult times when God watched over me and held me close, but also wonderful, happy times when God rejoiced with me and cheered me on in my journey.

Whether I can clearly remember each time or not, God has been and always will be with me, wherever I go and whatever happens in my life, in joy and in sorrow—forever. I love how God keeps reassuring us of this fact in different ways and places in Scripture.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20

I will not leave you as orphans … John 14:18

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

In these strange times, may we constantly remember these words. May they remain embedded in our hearts and minds—forever.

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