"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” - Matthew 28:20
After our first Christmas concert of the season we had a lot of younger kids take advantage of the free posters we give out. Asking for signatures and autographs from the band, the kids overcame some fear and talked with many of us making for some neat moments to just encourage young ones.
As I was writing my signature I kept coming back to including this line: "Emmanuel, Always" As we went through the album and spoke about the stories of God's faithfulness playing out in the lives of Isaiah, Joseph, The Shepherds and Mary, this became the unrelenting theme - Emmanuel - "God With Us" is ALWAYS with us!
What a comfort and encouragement for all of us. In the midst of our stories that don't always... and perhaps don't often... go the way WE want them, we can trust that God is with us always.
- He's with us in the confusion as he was with Isaiah as he struggled to understand what God was telling him to share, after all how could he possibly know the ramifications of his prophecies of the suffering servant.
- He's with us in the utter disappointments as he was with Joseph who had a right to expect Mary to be sexually pure, helping him to trust God with his life and future.
- He's with us in the fear filled moments when we're sure we won't make it out alive, like the shepherds who were shown the holy angels and heard them speak words of blessing instead of fear.
- He's with us in the anxiety when our plans go in a completely different direction. Blessed though we may be, like Mary we have questions, significant questions.
Emmanuel - Always! As we consider the stories in the Bible, we remember that they were not characters in a novel, but people with real lives, real emotions, real hopes, real dreams, real tragedies, real disappointments, real fears, real anxieties. And because "God with us" with them Always, they have a story of God's faithfulness, written out for all of us to know and be encouraged by.
In the same way, God is working a story of his faithfulness in your life today. Even if we can't see the end result. Even if the healing doesn't come in this earthly life. Even if my dreams in this world don't come true my way. Even if... Faith lays claim to the promise. He is working all things together for our ultimate good, for his ultimate glory - that HIS Kingdom may come to more and more people!