I Awake, and I Am Still With You

I am taking a break from the book Celebrate Jesus and Behold Him Face to Face today to bring you something else God has placed on my heart, as He continues to prepare my heart to share the next chapter: Chapter 4 – I Know You.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,  intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
   the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!

If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.

Psalm 139: 16-18 (ESV)

A day before Russian troops invaded the Ukraine, my husband, our children, one of their best friends and I walked around the Canadian war cemetery in Holten, the Netherlands. It was my birthday and my heart was so overcome by God’s touch to bring us to that place, as we began what would become a three-hour walk on a beautiful forested path.

That cemetery with more than 1300 tombstones – so many with beautiful engravings of precious Scriptures – marked the sacrifice of not just the young Canadian men buried there, but also their fathers, mothers, young wives and teeny tiney children left fatherless, turned my eyes to Jesus. As I surveyed all before me, I found my heart and lips lifting up blessings for their families. Then, I stopped to notice and read a laminated message from the family of one of those buried there.

I watched as three little girls walked amongst those tombs in hushed awe of these men from a country so far away, who had laid down their lives that we, in the Netherlands, might live in freedom today. I thought of my own Grandads who also served in Europe, traveling all the way from New Zealand to fight for what was true and good and just. And I was so humbled to think upon Jesus giving His life for us that we might live.

That no matter what evil befalls us, we might, like these young men and their families, be emboldened to stand up for what is true and good and just. That we might deep down know that even if our earthly bodies are laid in a tomb, our heavenly bodies are held eternally secure in the hands of our LORD and Savior, with whom we shall rise unto glory. That we might know there is more than we can see with our physical eyes and that the eternal flame of love that we feel burning deep within our God-breathed hearts and souls cannot be snuffed out.

Praise God for my blessed children, who are causing me to come boldly before the throne of grace in this time of need. In expressing their own fears, righteous anger and anxieties freely before me, they are uncovering my own and leading us into prayer. In that place of kneeling before Jesus, as my weakness and lack is exposed, He is giving voice to His perfect power for us and for those our heart – His heart in us – breaks for. His Word and songs of love, justice and peace that passes all human understanding are flowing richly.

Papa, continue to make Yourself known to us and in us. LORD we long to know You in Your death and resurrection, to like those who gave their lives for us in the second World War, be prepared and willing to lay down our own selfish desires for Your selfless acts of love and devotion. Papa, continue to uncover our weakness and draw us to Your feet in prayer, that You might fill us to overflowing with Your power.

May Your living hope that no man can ever steal from us become so very palpable in and through us to the aching world around us. May those around us breathe in the hope of glory living inside of us, through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us. Thank You that as You awaken us to Your breath of power in us, You are awakening others through us.

Thank You that You died not just for us, but for all. Do not let us numb our anger, our fears and our tears, but lead us to pour out our hearts before You that You might arise in power in and through us. Turn us into Your pure and undivided Body in this aching world that all might come to know You, as You move us to become Your listening ear, Your knowing heart, Your seeing eyes and Your loving hands and feet that move to hold and bless those You place around us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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