"Lo, I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20)
In October 1986, I stepped on to a plane to take my mother to Canada to visit her sister and brother. It was the first time that I was travelling outside the UK since my encounter with God in February 1979 when I was baptised in the Holy Spirit.
What I am about to say now, may sound very strange, but it was very real to me at the time. We all face different things that challenge us. This would not have been a challenge to others but it was for me. I was apprehensive about this journey. I wasn’t apprehensive about flying, nor was I apprehensive about seeing my family who hadn’t seen me since I had become a Christian. Quite simply, I was apprehensive that I wouldn’t be able to find the presence of God in Canada!
I had found the presence of God deeply in Scotland, where I was living at that time. I had travelled to many parts of Scotland and God was there wherever I went. But what about Canada? Canada was so far away. What would happen if I couldn’t find him there?
The moment came when we landed in Toronto. What was I going to face? Would I be bereft of the presence I had come to love and feel so much at home with?
I took hesitant steps as I disembarked the plane as the moment of reckoning came. And there, in that moment, as I set foot on Canadian soil, I felt the presence of God with me exactly the same as I did in Scotland! Whew!
I know that there are many verses in the Bible that assure us of God’s presence with us. It’s one thing to read these verses in The Bible, but they become a reality as you personally experience their truth.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
For he has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:6)
Many years later as I faced the challenge of mission work abroad, the words of a hymn by Madame Guyon lived for me, and are a living, burning reality today.
All scenes alike engaging prove
To souls impressed with sacred love!
Where'er they dwell, they dwell in thee;
In heaven, in earth, or on the sea.
It’s not the location or situation that matters; what matters is that the God of all the universe is with us, whatever we are facing in life. So, don’t be afraid of the things that challenge you this week. Your challenges will be different form mine just as mine have been different from yours. Be strong and courageous, for He is with you always!
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