“Where are you going, Mom?”
My three-year-old has a radar system that rings alarms and sets off alerts if there is a possibility that I am going out…and leaving her at home.
That morning, she had caught me slipping on my socks. I reassured her, though, “Just putting on my socks because my feet are cold, baby girl. I’m not going out.”
“You’re staying here?”
“You’re not leaving?”
“No, sweetie. Mommy’s staying with you today.”
Seeing as how a hurricane raged off the coast of Virginia that morning, staying in seemed like a good idea. We had stocked up water, canned food, and batteries and hunkered down until the storm passed.
She didn’t understand all that, though. Snuggling in close to me, she pressed her cheek against mine and cooed, “Mommy, I stay with you.”
Of course, she can’t, not all the time, not forever, not every minute and each second of day after day after day. But for this moment and surely in this storm, here I was snuggling with her and remaining present.
We sang it at church Sunday morning, leaving the weather reports and streaming satellite images about the approaching hurricane behind for a short time. We gave praise, declaring, “You are My Shield, My strength, My Portion, Deliverer, My Shelter, Strong Tower, My very present help in time of need.”
This is our way of singing Psalm 46 back to God:
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging (Psalm 46:1-3).
Normally, I sing this song imagining God as my Tower, my Shelter in the most fearsome storms.
But what good is a tower-of-brick if it isn’t nearby when you need to hide? And what is the point of a refuge that is too far away to reach in times of distress?
It is God’s constant, faithful presence that makes Him effective as our Refuge and our Strength, our Defense and our Deliverer.
That is why “we will not fear,” not during storm or raging sea, or mountains crumbling or news reports of flooding and fire and disaster.
Because He is present. Not just here in this moment and maybe leaving us later in the care of others while He slips out for a meeting or relaxes with friends or fills a cart with groceries at the local store. We needn’t trip to His feet in alarm when He pulls on His socks or takes His jacket down from the pegs in the closet.
He is always, ever, constantly, faithfully, never-changing, perpetually, every second of every day present with us.
This means He didn’t close His eyes, turn His head, blink, snooze, or simply grow too distracted to care when the mountains crumbled and the waters roared.
No, our God doesn’t promise us a world without frightful shaking and uncertainty. It’s a sin-plagued planet, aching and groaning for the perfection of eternity. Hurting and death and sickness and tears are part of life here.
But He promises to be with us and be the strength and shelter we need for whatever rages outside.
Moses plead with God simply for this presence. Days on that holy mountain, shining with reflected glory, and Moses still longed for more of God.
The Lord Himself promised: “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)
His presence. Our rest. Without Him, turmoil and worrying and stress.
Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:15-16).
Like Moses, we pray, knowing that without God’s presence, we are a mess and a disaster, and we are alone and lost, no different than those who don’t know Him at all.
His presence is what sets us apart. That’s what gives us hope for each new day and peace and that’s what others should notice about us–Christ in us, the hope and glory.
Today is a day to praise God for His presence:
You Never Let Go (David Crowder* Band): “When clouds brought rain, And disaster came…When waters rose, And hope had flown.. Ever faithful, Ever true. You I know.
You never let go
Made Me Glad (Hillsong): “He has delivered me from all fear; He has set my feet upon a rock. I will not be moved! I’ll say of the Lord, You are my Shield, my Strength, my Portion, Deliverer, my Shelter, Strong Tower, my very present help in time of need!”
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2012 Heather King