I couldn’t pass up writing this devotional. Speaking of passing up, did you pass through that list of names in Matthew 1, or did you savor some of them, at least?
No shame here. I realize that I’m writing to a group of readers in various stages of their lives with Jesus. It’s only recently that I’ve come to recognize a lot of those names and have grown to appreciate the stories that accompany them. Keep reading! You’re doing great!
As important as that list of names is, I’m fast forwarding to my favorite part of this chapter… “they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
I can’t get enough of this truth. I need God to be with me every moment.
Jesus told His disciples in John 16:7 that He would be leaving them. This had to be devastating news from the One they had come to love. But He also told them He was leaving them with something better, His Spirit. Not only do we receive forgiveness and a place of belonging when we put our faith in Jesus, His Spirit also comes to dwell in us.
I’ve been reading through the New Testament and just read Acts 13 this morning. This is an account of Barnabas and Paul’s first adventure of traveling to share the gospel. In this single chapter we learn of the ‘high’ they experienced as almost the whole city gathered to hear them share the word of the Lord. A few sentences later we feel the weight of their ‘low’ as they endure rejection and persecution for their obedience. Then we read this humbling verse…” And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 13:52)
If Barnabas and Paul only rode on the surface of their experiences, they would have found joy impossible to embrace.
It’s not that hard to find ourselves skimming along on the ups and downs of life ourselves. My family has gone through some lows being caught up in the mix of an illness of a loved one and the restrictions put on us by a world with COVID.
It feels impossible and sad.
And I’m not alone.
Now, if I’m stuck with someone I find annoying, if I have a companion I can’t trust, if I’m bound to someone who constantly reminds me how much they don’t know me, it’s torture.
But Jesus is trustworthy. He does know me. He loves me. He understands grief and suffering. He walks in joy and victory. He is my perfect companion and friend.
And He has the power to change my highs and lows. He has the wisdom to work everything for my good. He not only walks with me, He carries all of my luggage (even uphill).
What luggage are you carrying around? In what way do you need to entrust it to the Lord? How has He showed up for you in the past?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. (Ps. 139:8-10)
God gets us.
He is behind, ahead, and with us.
And He’s someone I love being ‘stuck’ with.