God with us – Emmanuel. What is such a powerful reminder as we travel the journey of life. We face many challenges. We come up against mountains we must traverse and rivers we must swim. Sometimes we do this with grace and dignity. Sometimes we are a complete and total mess. But we always find ourselves traveling with God. He promises us that he will not leave us. He has given us his Spirit to guide us (when we listen). He has shown us he has not forgotten us.
This devotional series has been about paying attention. It has been an invitation to see God among us. If indeed he is with us, we should be able to notice. But we instead pay attention to our wants and desires. We miss him – right before our own eyes. He has provided so much beauty among the heartache. He has provided so much love in the midst of hatred. He has held us tight when we have fallen apart. He has held up our heads when we were beat down. He is with us – have you seen him?
My Dad’s favorite Psalm is 139. I think it is only appropriate to end this series with this Psalm he loved so much. While the entire Psalm speaks volumes, there is a particular verse that draws my attention today (verse 7). The Psalmist asks where he can go from God’s spirit. Where can he flee from God’s presence? His conclusion throughout the Psalm is that God is everywhere and he can go nowhere that God is not. God with us – Emmanuel. This is our reminder he is among us – pay attention. He has given us so much beauty to behold – pay attention. He has provided us so many good things – don’t miss it!
God loves you more than you can possibly imagine. He loves you in spite of yourself. He loves with an unexplainable, unconditional love that set us free – free to live an abundant life. We are, after all, God’s beloved. Look around you, there are signs everywhere. God is here, among us.
1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
3 You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
I come to the end—I am still with you.
19 O that you would kill the wicked, O God,
and that the bloodthirsty would depart from me—
20 those who speak of you maliciously,
and lift themselves up against you for evil!
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
24 See if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Photos included in Devotions are captured by David Cain – The Cain Gallery. Photos are available for sale by contacting The Cain Gallery