Thursday, December 20, 2012

Immanuel, God WITH Us!

My soon-to-be husband, Bill, was a seminary student in Kentucky that spring when The Navigators extended an invitation to him for a staff internship at the University of Illinois. He was surprised, honored, and intimidated all at the same time. The U of I was home to the largest Navigator collegiate ministry in those years.

A few days later while reading Exodus for one of his classes, he came across Moses’ conversation with God in Exodus 3. God initiated: “I have seen …I have heard …I know … I have come to deliver … and to bring them … I have seen (again) … I will send you”. Exodus 3:7-10. God’s invitation to Moses was peppered with His presence.

Moses responds, “Who am I that I should go …?” (v. 11) The very same question Bill was asking, who am I that I should go to Illinois? God never answers his question, but he promises, “I will be with you,” (v. 12)

A similar scenario is repeated in Joshua 1: “I will be with you. I will not leave you … for the Lord your God is with you” (v. 5-9)  In the book of Haggai when the people are exhorted to return to building the house of the Lord, God promises through Haggai, “I am with you”. (Haggai 1:13)  God echoes over and over throughout the scriptures the same truth, I am with you. The well-known passages of the great commission in Matthew 28:18-20, or the prayer promise in Matthew 18:20 end with the assurance of God’s presence.

Our Christmas cards this year proclaim, Immanuel, God with us. When I chose those well-known Christmas words, I didn’t know I would be so challenged by them.

I ask myself:
How aware am I of the gift of
God’s presence with me?
Do I thank him for his
presence in the midst of the
Do I remember his presence
in my delights?

Bill accepted the invitation. We married  and spent our first 9 years together at the U of I. We are still Illini fans.
Merry Christmas,
Immanuel, God with us!

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5

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