God with Us

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“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”    Matthew 1:23

These timeless words were first spoken by the prophet Isaiah over 700 years before the angel visits Joseph. And then nine months of waiting for this Hope to be born. Then the waiting as this child would grow. At 12 years, Jesus would get left behind in Jerusalem, to be found 3 days later in His Father’s house. Another 18 years and His earthly ministry. Three and half years of preaching, healing, teaching, loving, forgiving only to end with arrest, false accusations, mocking, beatings, and execution on a cross. Three days later: resurrection, joy which cannot be taken away. 40 days later ascension into heaven. And now over 2000 years later we wait for His coming with great power and glory, not anxious but filled with Him who is our Peace.

Waiting for the LORD is always worth the wait. As the season of Advent implies, waiting is not simply a passive state of being but a time of preparation. As Jesus tells His followers:

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.

In My Fathers house are many dwelling places;

if it were not so, I would have told you;

for I go to prepare a place for you.

John 14:1-2

Jesus is preparing a place for us and preparing us for that place. God prepared Mary & Joseph so that at just the right time Jesus would enter the world.  And there is no short cut when it comes to waiting for the LORD. His timing is impeccable, no hurry no tarry — always precisely on time. He is neither early nor late, but arrives precisely when He intends.

 For while we were still helpless,

at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 

Romans 5:6

In my morning conversation with the Lord, I pleaded my case about some things going on in my soul, areas in my life that feel like dead ends and other areas where I continue to fall short, to fail, to fake my way through. The condemnation and accusation pile up against me. I wonder if He is listening. I wander in these shadow lands and wait upon the LORD to answer, to come through, to act. He directs me to this powerful passage:

Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries,
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.

Psalm 27:12-14

The LORD reminds me that He will deliver me from the adversary, from the false witnesses condemning and accusing me, and that He will bring me into the land of the living. The LORD is worth the waiting, and in the meantime He graces me with courage where my soul can rest. The waiting reveals the LORD as deliverer and hiding place.

You see, as we wait the LORD remains faithful, for us. Even as we wander and wonder through the realities of life, death, angels, demons, things present, things to come, powers, heights and depths, He reveals that we are forever inseparable from His love and presence. In the waiting the LORD reveals Himself as Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace all of which are made flesh in Jesus.

As we enter this season of waiting, expectation and preparation, may we dare to trust the LORD in the midst of all our wanderings and wonderings and waitings as He prepares to reveal Himself as Immanuel, the God who was, and is, and will always be… with us! – Pastor Jon