This was supposed to be a nature hunt.
“Mom, can you hold this?”
I stand holding our autumn treasure: a bag full of acorns and leaves in all shapes, colors, and sizes.
Life is changing all around her. Yet she’s content sitting on that railing next to Daddy. The ducks pay no attention to her. She sits. Leaves are changing. Trees are shedding their glory. She sits.
They’re not really saying much. She sits.
She’s content to be in his presence.
Isn’t that our deepest desire, too? To be in the Presence of the Father. Isn’t that what our heart and soul longs for?
Because things around us change. Life happens. And, oh how I’ve met so many people wearing their hearts on their sleeves. Because change can be scary. And life can be unbearable when your heart aches so.
Like the widow across the street who lost her husband after 60 years of marriage. She still cries when she says his name. Like the single mother who’s trying to raise her child while providing for her household. Most of her days end in exhaustion. Or the woman whose mother is in the hospital, slowly losing her mind to Alzheimer. The teen whose father was murdered. The children whose parents were convicted of heinous crimes leaving then without their natural caregivers.
It’s the woman grieving over her lost children. The woman grieving a barren womb. The father burying his child. The wife grieving the memory loss of her husband. The man who works and works and never seems to bring home enough. It’s little boys and girls in hospital rooms. People dying in the Philippines. Hearts broken. Hearts searching for comfort.
And oh, how my heart swells up with overwhelm. “Oh Lord, how do we bring Hope to such grief? How do we comfort without being swallowed up by the enormity of the situation? I just need to be in Your Presence.”
Where Do We Find Joy?
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence [in Your presence there is fullness of joy], with eternal pleasures at your right hand,” (Psalm 16:11, NIV).
In His Presence. That’s the short answer.
That’s where we find the joy and peace we need to face our own hardships. That’s where we find the abounding grace and love needed to pour out in to others. That’s where we catch our breath and find clarity. In God’s Presence there is fullness of joy. And the joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10).
In His Presence we are reminded that He defeated death (1 Cor. 15:55). “He disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross,” (Col. 2: 15, NLT).
In His Presence we are reminded of Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1,
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” (emphasis mine)
I am learning how to hush the noises around me in order to find contentment and fullness of joy in His Presence. Not that I might forget the bleeding hearts around me, but that I might be able to give out of the overflow.
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