Be Still Know
Isaiah 7:14 NLT
All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means “God is with us”).
As one half of a childless couple, it has proven difficult to engage with the birth narrative of Jesus. Of course, I understand the momentous reality for both Mary and for Jesus, yet I have no shared experience of being told by my wife that she was expecting or of accompanying her through those days of excitement and anxiety we call pregnancy. However, I can relate to being chosen and then having a child to parent.
My daughter, much loved and much wanted, was abandoned seven months into her journey from conception. Her mother, who had thought this child was as greatly desired by her spouse as by her, was abandoned when he fell in love with someone else, leaving two people homeless and poor. That’s how Jayne came to live with Katey and me. Like Mary, she was with child with nowhere to lay her head. We were the stable in the form of a cramped room.
Mary, betrothed, confused, no doubt scrutinised and judged by the general population, knew that God was with her, literally as a child forming within her womb. Regardless of her feelings, she had a responsibility safely to deliver the saviour. In the same way, life is cruel to us. It disregards our prayer for safety and security in an uncertain world and lands us in circumstances that seem beyond our capacity to handle. We can become distracted by our circumstances and fail to recognise that God is with us. Only as we engage with Immanuel do we discover the ability to manage each day and keep the raw pain and despair at bay.
Jayne was pregnant and alone, yet God remained as integral to her life, as she did to her baby’s. The beauty of Immanuel is that God is always closer than our very shadow.
QUESTION: How aware are you of Immanuel, God with you?
PRAYER: Lord, may you draw close to all those who feel abandoned and alone, and give them the assurance of your presence.