Challenging Thought for Today:
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? Psalm 139:7 (NIV)
She called them blessings. The receptionist in the Intensive Care Unit’s family waiting room held up a small basket filled with tiny strips of folded paper and asked if I gotten mine. I smiled and politely reached for one and took it with me. My husband was upstairs having open heart surgery, a triple bypass. Family and friends would come later, but in those moments during and immediately following the surgery, I felt very alone. Until I read my “blessing”. Focus on God’s presence in the present. Seven simple, yet powerful words evoked a message that not only encouraged me during that difficult time but also still blesses and sustains me all these years later.
Amazingly, during that medical crisis for my husband, God allowed me to show his presence to someone facing an even more dire circumstance. I saw her a few days later sitting alone at one of the corner tables in the waiting room, weeping openly. It was a unnecessary question, but I still asked if she was alright. I knew she wasn’t. I just wanted to offer a prayer and share a blessing; she welcomed both. I was encouraged further as I studied bible notes on today’s key verse. They were another reminder that God is always with us in all situations, no matter what the present and future brings. In addition to the triple bypass surgery, the two-week “present” season brought gall bladder surgery and a stroke for my husband. For the woman in the waiting room, it brought additional lung cancer complications for hers. My presence in the waiting room with her allowed us to share an “alone” moment together. God’s presence allowed us to share his peace. It didn’t change our circumstances, but it certainly changed our focus and we both felt less alone.
Friends, there may be circumstances in your “present” that are threating to take your focus off His presence. Don’t let them. A present medical crisis does not always mean future disaster. A present relationship struggle does not necessarily mean a future broken relationship. A present financial crisis does not mean future financial ruin. I could go on and on with a roll call for every one of our present situations, but I think you see my point. David reminds us in Psalm 23:4 that in times of danger, difficulty, or even death, we don’t have to be afraid because God is yet with us. And even if your present situation should bring future heartache or take you to an unexpected or previously uninhabited place for you, don’t despair. Rest assured that the one who holds your future will help you hold it together. Many times, over the last few years, I re-read the words of that little blessing and remembered that Psalm 138 both asks and answers the question, “Where shall I go from your presence?” There is nowhere life can take us that the grace of God can’t reach us. Seven blessed words are a permanent part of my life now. Why not make them a part of yours?
Focus on His presence in your present.