HIS CONTINUAL PRESENCE
Lo, I am with you all the days, even unto the consum-mation of the age. —Matthew 28:20
As we begin another year, could there be found a more comforting, reassuring promise to us than this one spoken by Jesus, as He was parting from His disciples? He was assuring them of His continued presence, as in essence He was saying, "Children, do not be afraid of the days ahead, for I am with you in each of your days." How full of meaning are these words to us, for He is saying, "I am with you all the days"; not just, "I have been with you," or, "I will be with you," but, "I, the ever-present One, am with you in each of your days—all 365 of them!" There may be cold, barren days ahead, devoid of comfort, when but for the love and warmth of Jesus' presence our lot would be bleak indeed. Or there may be days of testing and distress, or of sickness and pain; but let us never forget it,
The healing of His seamless dress
Is by our beds of pain;
We touch Him in life's throng and press,
And we are whole again.
Can we not believe it? There will never be a day when our Jesus is not near us, as the poet has said,
Closer is He than breathing,
Nearer than hands and feet.And He himself has said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee"(Hebrews 13:5).
But we must learn to treasure His presence—to acquire the habit of recollecting this glorious fact that He is always with us. We may do this by waiting upon Him in our private devotions, allowing His presence to so permeate and fill us that we are more conscious of Him than of anyone or anything about us. Then as we leave our place of prayer, we should turn our attention often to Him, saying in our hearts, or even aloud, "Dear Jesus, You are near me, You are here; I love You, I praise You." As we are diligent in turning our attention to Him from time to time, His presence will become increasingly real and wonderful, for "in [His] presence is fulness of joy" (Psalm 16:11). As we begin the occupations of our day, we should make it our practice to recall His presence. Mothers, do it as you start the family washing, or while cooking the meals; and Dads, as the day begins for you, be sure it is begun in His presence—and then speak to Him often during the day.
The dear saint of God, known to us as Brother Lawrence, came into the experience of the new birth as he walked through the woods one day in the depth of winter. As he beheld the bare trees, seemingly so lifeless, he realized that ere long they would be clothed with new life and beauty, and he said, "God is here, close beside me; and He is everywhere, so I can never again be out of His presence." Gradually the nearness of God's presence took possession of him in such a way that it changed and fashioned his whole being—God was as real to him as he worked in his busy kitchen as when he was praying alone in his room.
Lord Jesus, make Thyself to me
A living bright reality,
More present to faith's vision keen
Than any earthly object seen,
More dear, more intimately nigh
Than e'en the closest earthly tie.
How rich, how beautiful and glorious our lives will be at year's end, if we have lovingly walked in His presence each day.
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