Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ever-Present God

Some managers center their workplace relationships on the open-door policy. Now and then, friends come along who always find time for others. But to envision the ultimate, I rest on the truth that God’s always available, and the best of bosses and best of friends can’t compete. I know this, live this and share it with excitement.

Lately, I’ve been working outside the home a little more than in past school years. As a mom, I measure my time by school years, school breaks and school days. I love it that way.

With growing work hours, I in turn, have found it growing a little harder to carve out quiet time alone with God. (But worth it.) At home, I love reading my Bible, getting lost as moments grow into a half-hour, then an hour, and sometimes more, as He speaks to me through Scripture.

I love how God flags me down on the highway of life to tend to my heart in a special way, or teach me a new lesson. And lately it’s been about this ever-present attribute of His. Ever-present. Always here — here, with me. (And there, with you.)

A few weeks ago, a friend sent me an e-mail about landing a new job, and at the end was his message signature, a Scripture verse. “Come near to God, and He will come near to you…” James 4:8 NIV He’s had that for his signature as long as I can remember, but the promise of it strikes me afresh these days.

So even with a few more demands, I do find time. It’s not necessarily hour-long times of worship and study, but minutes zeroed-in on brief verses of Scripture. Then I add drive-time meditation on the passage, prayer, or praise or learning from some solid pastors who air messages on the radio. It’s a different way to extend time with Him, to come near to Him. And I still have some weekdays at home to linger quietly with Him, too. Either way, He’s always with me. I’m blessed.

While traveling out-of-state for work last week, I opened Psalm 16.

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
Even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me.
Because He is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Psalm 16:7-8 NIV

My heart can’t instruct me at night, or counsel me well, unless God the Holy Spirit resides there. And, it says my heart instructs at night. While I sleep? As I rest? As I dream? At night, when it’s dark?
At the time of day when so much is closed for business, my Lord remains close-by, at work, instructing me. He teaches me and counsels me even then. How humbling. How endearing.

After the Sunday message from our pastor, our worship team led us in a version of the ancient Irish hymn written by Dal­lan For­gaill, “Be Thou My Vision.” Imagine what topic popped up in this 8th Century song with eternal truths.

Check out this excerpt from the opening:
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping Thy presence my light

Day or night, God is with me. Whether I am awake or asleep, God is with me, and He’s the One who lights the way for me. I can count on Him. I trust Him to be here with me.

A verse I sometimes send my children off to school with came to mind as I allowed this topic to roll around in my mind.
Psalm 46:1 says —
God is our refuge and strength,
An ever-present help in trouble.

What a comfort. How encouraging. At least if I must endure hard times — and I know God never promised a life of ease — He is with me.

So because He is ever-present, any distance I may feel is not the work of His hand, but of my choice. The point of connecting all these passages and the hymn to my life, is not to chastise myself, but to celebrate the joy of this with-me God. This Immanuel, all year long. So, I choose His presence. An awareness of Him. I choose to look for Him. Talk to Him. Praise Him.

He is at my right hand, so I will not be shaken. Even as the moon hides behind a cloud-filled night, He will counsel me.

Drawing near to Him, I know the generosity, fullness, faithfulness and honesty of His love, and His nearness. God. I feel wrapped in His love, surrounded by Him. Because I am.

© 2011Helene Bergren All rights reserved.