Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
Em=with; anu=us/we; el=God. God with us.
Whole self-contained worlds built within geodesic domes. Gardens, streams, waterfalls, flowers, shrubbery. Beautiful—but incomplete. Did you know you can’t grow trees safely in geodesic domes? There’s no wind, and without the struggle of standing against the wind, the trees grow spindly and weak, but are still tall enough to fall and break the dome.
Did you know if you try to help a chick hatch by breaking the shell open, it will die? Without that struggle, that exercise, it will be too weak to live.
Did you know if you try to spare a kid any pain or responsibility or accountability, he’ll be too weak to take his place in society?
Me, I’d rather be strong, because it’s coming. Whatever it is.
Christians have faced persecution, are facing it, will face even more in the future. Beatings and beheadings and everything in between.
What is my own struggle to that? A broken childhood, an abusive marriage, half a mortal lifetime of lonely search and struggle. I can rejoice in my trials—this side of them—because I value the strength they built into me.
But can I face something like what’s going on in the Middle East even as I pen these words? Can I stand? Not in my own strength—but I have the promise of Romans 14:4. “He will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” I have the promise of Hebrews 13:5. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I have the promise of Matthew 28:20. “Surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” I have the certain knowledge that I’ve already been through the worst I’ll ever face, because I’ll never again have to face anything alone.
God is with us.
Avi, Immanuel, You are here with me, have been here, and will forever be with me. You will never leave me nor forsake me. If I'm faced with what I cannot face, help me to stand, and give me time to remember the cost of denying You. In Your holy name, Amen.