A Simple Presence

“Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15 NLT)

Leaving church one Sunday morning shortly after my divorce, my pastor asked me how I was doing. He had known me and my wife for many years. Unable to hold it together, without saying a word, I fell into his arms sobbing. He didn’t try to comfort or console me, he simply held me and let me cry. His presence was healing in ways that no words could have ever been.

There’s something about having someone you love and whom you know loves you, to help you carry a burden or share a joy. Sometimes their simple presence can help to heal a deep hurt and make better a deep joy in ways nothing else can.

Early in my ministry I read a book by Joe Bayly entitled “The View From a Hearse.” Three of Joseph Bayly’s seven children died at young ages. He was intimately acquainted with the pain of death and was all too familiar with what he once called this enemy’s “grim violence.” He described how when at the funeral home different ones would come to express their condolences. Some, he said, would come and just keep talking. He couldn’t wait for them to leave.

Then others came and without a word, would sit down and put their arm around him. He said he wished they’d never leave. The presence of someone who cares is healing in ways and on levels that nothing else can. Kelly Needham, who suffered a great loss wrote: “Friendship is an irreplaceable gift in the life of a Christian.”

Photo by THIS IS ZUN on Pexels.com

In our desire to be helpful, we often ask: “Is there anything I can do?’ or we simply state: “If you need anything, just let me know.” These are words I’ve spoken, so I’m not being critical. But when pain is deep and our emotions are fragile, we don’t need a hot meal nearly as much as we need the warm presence of a loving friend who knows when not to speak.

The third verse of the familiar hymn by Joseph M. Scriven, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” says: “Are we weak and heavy laden, Cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our Refuge – Take it to the Lord in prayer. Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer; In His arms He’ll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there.”

In this season of my life, there’s nothing more satisfying than sensing my heavenly Father’s presence. Knowing He is with me and for me; that He and I are a majority, and nothing can enter my life except it passes through the filter of His divine permission. Often the Spirit will make Himself known most powerfully in and through the presence of a dear friend or family member who not only loves me, but loves Jesus as well.

I love the story of the little boy who was afraid in his room at night alone. His mom tried to reassure him by letting him know that God was always with him. “Yeh,” he said, “but I need God with skin on.”

Knowing the deepest needs of our lives, God came to us “with skin on” in the person of His only Son, the Lord Jesus, the same powerful God who said to Joshua as he became Moses’ replacement as leader of the children of Israel: “No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.” (Joshua 1:5)

We have that same assurance today. When you’re troubled, frightened, uncertain, and challenged by the fears of today and the unknowns of tomorrow, remember this: the same almighty God who walked with Joshua has your back. He’s not only behind and with you, but He’s also scouting out every detail of your future and His comforting presence will never leave you. Trust Him!

Blessings, Ed 😊

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