Hey, everyone! I know, I know. It’s been a while. But here you find me once again. My absence from writing can best be explained this way... I spent the last of November and all of December praying and trying to remain hopeful as God is throwing challenge after challenge at me. I have had a lot of reflecting to do in those last two months on things like: decisions for my future, friendships and relationships, my faith, and my overall happiness. To be completely honest, the last of November and all of December sucked all of the extra energy out of me and I didn’t have the energy to write. I have spent time away to refocus myself.
2017 is here now and so am I.
So, I hope you enjoy.
I laid on my bed last night, my butterfly lights glimmering against the white of my walls and my mind wandering aimlessly. I was lost in thought, thinking about what I seem to always find myself thinking about these days: my future. While I was thinking for myself, I was also thinking about Jesus. Recently in my life, He has been hard to find and follow. I feel like I am playing "Hide and Go Seek" with the Savior of the World.
Is He over here? Is He over there? Is He actually for me? Is He actually with me?
The questions continued, but in the midst of my thinking, a familiar tune begin playing through my head. I sat up. I couldn’t resist to start humming it; soon, my humming turned to singing. A few minutes passed and I found myself on Spotify searching for the song “God With Us: MercyMe.” The volume on my phone all the way up, I sat criss-cross, with closed eyes and open hands; I listened in closely. I repeated this a few times until eventually, I was singing the lyrics like I had never sung them before. And while I have heard this song so many times before on Christian radio, suddenly the lyrics meant so much more to me. The lyrics grabbed my attention.
The first thing I desire to do is leave the lyrics of the song below, so here you go.
Who are we, that you would be mindful of us?
What do you see, that’s worth looking our way?
We are free, in ways that we never should be.
Sweet release from the grip of these chains.
Like hinges, straining from the weight...
My heart no longer can keep from singing. [Chorus]
All that is within me cries, for you alone be glorified.
Emmanuel, God with Us.
My heart sings a brand new song. The debt is paid.
These chains are gone.
Emmanuel, God with Us.
Lord, you know our hearts don’t deserve your glory.
Still you show, a love we cannot afford.
Like hinges straining from the weight…
My heart no longer can keep from singing.
[Back to Chorus]
Such a tiny offering compared to Calvary; nevertheless, we lay it at your feet. [Back to Chorus]
The lyrics give me chills.
I am sure by now if you have been a member of any faith, you have heard the meaning of Emmanuel, and if you haven’t I am going to share it anyways. The story comes straight from Matthew, one of the Gospels in the New Testament. I am referring specifically to Matthew 1:23.
Mary and Joseph are engaged to be married at this point in Matthew. Joseph finds out that Mary is pregnant, which in these times to be pregnant without being officially married brings dishonor to your family and to your name. When Joseph finds out, he is frightened, and longs to call off their engagement peacefully to avoid the public humiliation Mary would face; however, an angel appears to Joseph in a dream and encourages Joseph to trust God, for He has a plan for the child.
The angel says to Joseph:
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Matthew 1:23 (NIV)
So, now I get to the root of this entire post: He is God with Us.
I find this so easy to forget, though. I think there are many reasons for it, but I think the main reason is we can get so caught up in focusing on our problems. We get so caught up in our circumstances that it causes discontentment. In a Bible Plan I am currently reading the author, Debora Coty, says: “Discontentment is a side effect of feeling like our life circumstances are spiraling out of control. Fretting is our feeble effort to maintain control. So we…
F: false sense of
R: responsibility for
E: every little
When we do this, we are letting those worries kill our joy and we forget what the songs says: we have been given a powerful gift that we never deserved to begin with. And psssttt that’s Jesus.
I think another reason this can be so easily forgotten is this: Jesus is holy, flawless, and sanctified. He is not in this world so sometimes we can easily forget that He truly is right there with us through every struggle.
But the Bible tells us these two things: Jesus has two natures: He is God and He is man. Each of these two are complete: Jesus is FULLY God and Jesus is FULLY man.
This blows my mind, people! God could have sent Jesus into the world in any form He desired, but he sent Jesus as an infant. God did this so that Jesus could grow in this world and experience all the things we do: joy, trial, temptation, sadness, irritation, grace, freedom, loss, excitement, disappointment, companionship.... God sent Him here to experience all of this so he could understand us completely and without misconception. He was sent so that he could truly be Emmanuel, God with us. This is huge! So, so huge!
Because He is God with us, He understands.
Because He is God with us, He weeps when we weep.
Because He is God with us, He takes our hand throughout the chaos and walks beside us.
Fretting takes our focus off of the one who is walking beside us. He is right there, wherever we go. He is not planning on leaving or forsaking us. He knows what He’s doing and I bet He plans to keep on doing it. He loves you so much that He sacrificed himself for you. When you are in the thick of trial, remember that He is truly with you... He is Emmanuel, God with us.
The Valley. Many of us think when we are standing in the thick of it, “there’s not a very clear view from here and I wish I could just see more.” We wish our view was clearer and we ask God why it isn’t. We lose focus and ultimately hope. We believe there is nothing to see here, when there is everything to see here.
Directions are a huge part of life, but especially in faith. In the scavenger hunt, are you expecting God to reveal something grand to you, without actively seeking Him? Overall, this behavior is dangerous because it could be keeping you from uncovering the mystery in The Amazing Race that is life.