Emmanuel -- The God who is with me. Several days ago, someone was talking about this Name of God, first prophesied in the Bible (Isa. 7:14) as the Savior who would come, and then fulfilled in Matthew 1:23. “God with Us!” Born in human flesh, walking on the earth with us!
Each of the names of God gives us a little more insight into the character and qualities of who He is. This name, Emmanuel (Or Immanuel), is perhaps the most personal and draws Him close to each of us individually. As I thought about this name this past week, I began to make a list of all the times He was with me. Somehow, I could just hear the whisper of His name as I wrote each of these down. My conclusion? He has always been there! Even in those times before He was my Savior, He was there, drawing me, calling after me, protecting me, knowing that one day, I would turn my face upward, and He would draw me out of the pit I had dug for myself.
Thank you, Lord, that
631. You were there with me when I was born, knew my name, knew my end from my beginning, and loved me.
632. You were there with me when I contracted spinal meningitis as a three month old baby, sparing my life so that one day, I would know that You loved me.
633. You were there, sending a pastor to sit by my father’s side - one he did not know, but changed the course of his life and mine, putting me on a path where I would find out that You loved me.
634. You were there, protecting me as a child, as I rode my tricycle into traffic and other dangerous places because, as a Father, you loved me.
635. You were there with me, as I held a dead sparrow in my little chubby hands, questioning all the why’s of death -- and you loved me!
636. You were there with me, as I innocently walked through streets in neighborhoods that were not safe, and you loved me!
637. You were there with me, the night my mom went Home to You, leaving a deeply grieving dad to care for five bewildered children, and you wept with us, and loved me.
638. You were there, in the closet with me, hiding from a relentless abuser, and you felt my pain, and you loved me.
639. You were there with me, when I knew I was a sinner and received your cleansing and promise of eternal life, and you welcomed me home and you loved me.
640. You were there, as I struggled with guilt and painful memories, secrets, and burdens I wasn’t meant to carry, and you constantly reminded me that you loved me.
641. You were there, sadly looking on as I walked away from you, thinking I could do life on my own, but still, you loved me.
642. You were there, with tears of joy as you watched me come back home to you, and you told me that still, as always, you forgave me and loved me.
643. You were there, the day I realized I was not a marred, useless, broken vessel, but rather, a princess of a King and dressed in beautiful, royal robes of white, and looked into my eyes, and told me you loved me.
644. You were there, the day I was diagnosed with cancer, orchestrating the whole scene to bring me the care I needed, and held me up and told me you loved me.
645. You were there, through the hardest days of chemo, surgery, and burning days of radiation, always holding me up, helping me take the next step, to do the next thing, and told me I could do it with your help, because you loved me.
646. You were there, saying “I can” when my heart cried, “I can’t,” and gave me strength while you whispered that you loved me.
You were always there! My Emmanuel! My God who is always with me and will never leave me, nor forsake me! Why would I doubt His presence in my tomorrows? Think today of the times He has been with you, make a list, and thank Him for being the God who is with us, always there, always yours, who will never forsake you!
Sometimes, we thank Him for what we see in our every moments of the day. But sometimes, we reflect on what we see in our rear view mirrors --- the places we were, the roads we traveled, the rivers we crossed and the mountains we climbed. And there, in the reflection of that rear view mirror, we see we were never alone. Emmanuel, My God who is with me, is there, and I see His image in it all. And so, my list of gratitudes are for these places in my life which made me stronger, and planted my feet steadfastly in a hope that will not disappoint. Joining a community of wonderful people who are also counting their gifts at: