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The Gift of Presence

The day that our son learned of the death of his son in another state, is etched in my memory.  The very next day, our daughter, Anna, boarded a plane expected to arrive from California at 8:30 pm.  When she missed her flight in Dallas by minutes, she booked a flight to Chicago, rented a car and arrived at 2:14 am, Wednesday am.  A gift of presence.
That same day our younger son and his wife, as well as his daughters, traveled to another state to be a gift of presence to his older brother.  Our daughter helped me with the care of her Dad – even to helping him enter a place that he could receive 24/7 care before she flew back to her own family.
As I pondered ‘the gifts of their presence’ whenever needed within the family, I realized the depth of the need for relationships within a family.  A deep and glorious gift of time and sacrifice just to be there, is all that is needed.  No words are needed, just concern and prayer. 
Our church family reached out and provided lunch for us as our oldest son stopped in, and continued on his way home to another state.  Another relationship, another outpouring of love in a tangible way.  Prayers come from China, parts of United States and to the Netherlands.  The presence of prayer is powerful. 
After everyone is safely home, I realize deeply the power of another Presence unseen continues.  I may not always be aware of this relationship.  But now, with everyone gone, I realize the thickness of silence and the golden presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the true Gift of Grace, Peace and Joy.  I miss the daily presence of my husband of almost 64 years in another 12 days. 
I remember the deaths of my Grandpa and my Dad, and now I walk in the shoes of my Grandma and my Mother.  Others around me have had this same walk with the finality of death.  My husband has not yet succumbed to his disease, but that tenuous hold on to life looms before me.
Then the lyrics rise to my mind: Where could I go but to the Lord – Where could I go – where could I go – Seeking the refuge for my soul – Needing a friend to save me in the end –  Won’t you tell me – Where could I go but to the Lord.
Yes, where can I go?  God wants us to trust completely and lean on Him.  He is teaching me slowly but surely to rely solely on Him, Who is Able.
Then I read in Psalm 16:11 – You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. 
David knew the way to Peace in God….the rest of the Psalm 16 says this:
Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.  I said to the Lord, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.” The godly people in the land are my true heroes!  I take pleasure in them!  Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods. I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood or even speak the names of their gods.
Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance! I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me.  I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.  No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety.  For you will not leave my soul among the dead  or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
How can we be certain that we are in the presence of God?  How can we come into his presence and know the joy and hope that is in Him?  Reading His Word…  Studying and most of all – living His Word. 
  Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 13:14a
  Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.  Ephesians 3:12
  You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence. Acts 2:28
  There is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents. Luke 15:10
  Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father. Matthew 18:10
Three more verses make me rejoice, and greet each new day with This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Psalm 118.24
Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.  Romans 5:2-5

As my Mom would often sing… Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Amen!

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