God With Us
Jan 13, 2019 1322
When Jesus came to earth, he did not come to pass judgment or to investigate our ways, but to be with us. This is just as the scriptures had anticipated, as recalled by Matthew (v 1:23), “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Unlike the prophets, Jesus was born to live with and for us, and later die with and for us. Some of the prophets, such as John the Baptist, preferring holiness, lived away from the people. But Jesus chose to live amongst them.
Today, Jesus is still with us. He lays with us in the sick bed. He is with the street kid that spends the night in the cold. He is with the soldier that defends their country in war. Jesus mourns with us when we lose our loved ones and he is with the youth in their struggle to make sense of life. That’s all that matters for now. When faced with problems, a Christian’s faith is not necessarily based in the hope that God will intervene but in the fact that God is with them in all circumstances.
Sometimes God’s will is being accomplished through ways unpalatable to humanity. This is demonstrated in the case of the young Hebrews who were thrown into a fiery furnace. The words of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in that moment of great distress and fear are telling,
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Dan 3:17-18).
When faced with problems, a Christian’s faith is not necessarily based in the hope that God will intervene but in the fact that God is with them in all circumstances.
These young men understood the concept of Immanuel: God would be with them even if he did not intervene as desired.
In fact, the presence of God is usually plenty when he seems to be absent. This understanding is vital for a vibrant faith. Many people have lost faith in God after tragedies that raise the question “Where was God when this happened?” or “How could God allow this to happen to me”? Many a faith would be saved if Christians understood and taught a God who suffers when we suffer and aches when we do.
However, God is not a helpless God. He has already dealt with the root problem: sin. If he intervenes with miracles, well and good. But if he doesn’t, and instead chooses to suffer alongside us, he is still God, worthy of our worship.
This is the same God that chose to suffer for us at the Cross. He has overcome sin and death, and one day all our problems and pain will cease. But until then, he is with us.
– Pr Bonifresh Muhollo