October 5, 2017



Today, after my quiet time, the short chorus about Emmanuel was on my mind:

Emmanuel, Emmanuel

His name is called Emmanuel

God with us, Revealed in us

His name is called Emmanuel

The Hebrew word IMMANUEL has been one of my favorite words since 1993, when I started studying Hebrew.  Having grown up in church, I cannot recall a time when I did not know that the Bible said “Emmanuel” means “God with us.”  I don’t recall the first word I learned when I began studying Hebrew but I know for sure that the first Hebrew word I ever learned was Emmanuel.  AND, I remember well how excited I was to be able to read that blessed word in Hebrew.

That one words – three words in one in Hebrew – bears so much hope and promise, just as the man who bore the name came bringing so much hope and the fulfillment of a promise, a covenant, God made with His Chosen People.

Recent events in my family bring home to me the reality of Emmanuel – God With Us – in a way I’ve never experienced before and I believe it more now than I probably ever have.

It’s easy to see and to say God is with us when things are going well.  The believing gets tough, though, when times are hard and God seems less and less like He is with us.  The temptation to shove Him away and take control of our own lives becomes nearly irresistible.

I wish I could say this wasn’t true for me.  I wish I could say the power of the word Emmanuel alone was enough to sustain me when life gets hard.  Far too often I’ve run headlong down my own path of busy-ness & control & worry & anxiety so that “God With Us” is more a complaint and a hindrance than a source of peace.

Then, when I am weary and worn our from worthless work and worry, I remember I am only ever going to spin my wheels in vain if I do not rest in Emmanuel.

Too many years of that in a row over the past few years had left me drained and feeling far from God.  That all began to change December 2014.  It’s been a long two years but, finally, this Christmas, I have a sense of Emmanuel – God with us – that I have longed for forever, but have never had.

My prayer for each of you is that you would do whatever it takes to let God show you the peace that comes only from Emmanuel.

Merry Christmas!