Saturday, December 17, 2011
God With Us
“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” – which means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23
Emmanuel. God with us. During the Christmas season we sing of God being with us.
“Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel. And ransom captive Israel...”
We know God is with us on Christmas, and every day of the year, but do we really believe He’s always with us?
On Christmas Day 2001, I questioned God’s presence in my life. Oh, I’d been a Christian for several years, and I’d grown exponentially in my walk with God by then. I had introduced several friends and family members to Christ. I had led women’s Bible studies. As a matter of fact, 2001 marked the year I’d become a pastor’s wife. Rest assured, I knew God.
Yet 2001 was also the year that I’d miscarried two precious babies. I can still remember the sticky ultrasound probe on my swollen, exposed belly. I remember the image of my baby girl on the monitor. She was still there all right, but the flash of light that represented her little heartbeat no longer existed. With no forewarning or explanation, my baby girl’s heart no longer beat.
Five months later, my husband and I relived this nightmare once again. I’d never felt so alone. I wondered if even God had left me.
In this condition of heart, I entered the Christmas season. I attended holiday festivities feeling like the uninvited guest shivering outside, peering at the smiling guests through an icy window. During Christmas service, I sang carols alongside my fellow church members, but inside my icy heart ached.
“Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel...”
In the New Year my heart began to melt. I’d been studying Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. During one particular lesson, God spoke to me through the story of Lazarus’ death and resurrection, recorded in John 11.
The words of Mary, Lazarus’ sister, nearly jumped off the page of my study Bible. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
I could relate. If God had been with me, surely my babies wouldn’t have died.
As I delved deeper into this scripture, God opened my eyes to more of His truth. He feels our pain, evidenced by the often-quoted verse 35, “Jesus wept.”
When my babies died, Jesus was very present with me. Furthermore, His heart broke along with my heart.
Also, I live by faith, believing I will see my sweet children in heaven one day. Like Mary and Martha, I know Him not only as Jehovah Rapha – God our Healer. I know Him as the Resurrection and the Life.
At Christmastime, we can know that God is with us through the joys and the sorrows we’ve faced throughout the year. He came to earth to die for our sins, so we could live eternally in heaven with Him and our loved ones – including some we have yet to meet.