I've been reading in the book of Matthew. Today was a short passage- only verses 22 and 23 of chapter 1. But, sometimes, two is enough. Verse 23 reads, "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel- which means "God with Us." A little note above the word Immanuel refers me to Isaiah 7:14. In Isaiah 7:14 I find the same sentence, "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son", and another little note that tells me: Immanuel means "God with Us".
Growing up I was taught that when a phrase in the bible is repeated, it's for emphasis. So today, the emphasis is is on "God with us"... and especially, "God with me." (I do love italics. I use them for--you guessed it-- emphasis!)
God with me. God with me! This means so very much. Especially now when I am tired and worn from a long season of medical issues that began back in November. We've had 'routine surgeries' and illnesses, and minor emergencies... and a number of not so minor emergencies. A few ER visits and one trip to the ICU. Not fun. That being the understatement of this quite chaotic year. We deal with a lot of medical needs in my family, on a continual basis. But when several of the needs are inflamed all at once, well, it's exhausting.
Throw in a particularly hectic week at work (right after a week in the hospital), and I am worn thin. So today I am taking time out to rejuvenate. I am taking special comfort in knowing that God is with me. And expressing thankfulness that he has been with me through this entire ordeal. He's been my rock, my guide, my comfort, and my rest. And on more than one occasion he has reminded me how very much I do need that rest.
Wise counsel recently pointed out that my physical energy must be budgeted. Like our family's finances, which I've learned to carefully manage, time to rest must be planned for. The monetary budget needs room for what I call a 'buffer'. So does my physical energy 'budget'. It is a fact of my life that at any moment I could discover the need to head to the hospital. So expending every bit of my God given resources is never a good idea. The light bulb came on for me; I realized that this is a good "lesson" to glean from this season. I need a cushion in every season and so times of rest and renewal must be carefully guarded. This includes time to remember "God with me"- to seek him out, allowing him draw near to me, to equip, restore, and help me recover.
I say often that God is the One who Sustains. I say yes to "God with me". He will draw as close as I let him. Part of the journey includes making the time to let him in. So today I will rest. I will rest physically and mentally. Later I will take a walk in the greenery around our neighborhood. I will lift my eyes to the hills and remember where my help comes from (Psalm 121) and I will breathe in his goodness, his love, his provision. I will take time to connect to him, in the moment, and as I do this, I will find that physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I have rest in him.