One of my favorite names for our Lord is Immanuel which means “God With Us.” We have a God Who desires to be with us – not distant, not detached. He wants us to know Him and has given us His Word so that we might know His character and trust Him. Jesus walked the same earth as we do and is acquainted with our hardships. That is a near God not a distant, far-away god who is out of touch with our infirmities.
Maybe it is because I sometimes deal with loneliness, even when surrounded by a crowd of people, but I take great comfort in remembering that God is always with me. Because I do not see Him since He does not have a body like men, I am tempted to forget that God is right here, right now. He is near. In those forgetful moments, I allow the temptations of this world and the desires of my flesh to lead me away from Him. Those moments of self-centeredness and unbelief are common to all of us as Hebrews 3:12-13 reminds CHRISTIANS not to allow unbelief to rule one’s heart:
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
When unbelief rules our thoughts (even as Christians), we become hardened in our hearts, deceived by sin, and turn away from Christ who seems so far away as if He is not Who He says He is – “God With Us.” Doubting God’s truth is a dangerous problem for Believers and Followers of Christ.
So as you reflect upon the Christmas season, let the truth that Immanuel came to earth in the little town of Bethlehem because the God of the universe desires to be with you, with me, and with us. Spend time with Him today.
-Mark (trusting God at His Word and thankful for His description of Himself as Immanuel)