The Gift of Presence

I am currently visiting our oldest daughter and her family in South Carolina.  My wife, Susan, and I are here because she gave birth to our tenth grandchild.  We are so thankful to God for this great blessing.  We are not really doing all that much, but we are present and we are here for whatever the needs are that we can help meet.

I had a friend call yesterday.  The person had problems at work and just needed to vent.  I didn’t say a whole lot, but I listened.  At the end the person thanked me for just being there and listening.

Sometimes the most important thing you can do is to be present with people who are going through the challenges of life. You don’t have to solve their problems.  You just need to be there where they know they are loved and not alone. 

That’s what God does for us.  He is always present with those who are his. Jesus said, “Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20. His presence is promised to us.  He is with you through the ups and downs of life. Even one of Jesus’ name, Immanuel, means “God with us.”  

I don’t know what you’re going through right now, but trust that God is with you. It is his gift of presence. He will be there for you throughout whatever you are going through and will work it for your good. “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

The Mashmallow Test

I watched this video this morning. It shows kids who took part in the marshmallow test. They were put alone in a room with one marshmallow on a plate in front of them. They were told that if they waited for the tester to return without eating the marshmallow they would get another one. Some waited and got two. Some didn’t and settled for one.

God is like that. Sometimes if we will wait he’ll give us the better option than if we just take what is in front of us. I’m a church planter. I started a church in Miami a little over 7 years ago. My ego has always been my battle in this church planting thing. I’ve battled with God. I’ve wanted a growing (in numbers) church and that simply hasn’t happened. It is not because we haven’t been reaching out to people who are far from God, because we have.

I have learned the hard way that this is God’s church not mine. If it grows numerically, it’s because he grows the church. If it declines and we’re doing what we’re supposed to do then I must put that in his hands. He has other plans and other things to teach me and us. I just know that he is in control and he wants what is best for his church. I could settle for the one marshmallow, but that’s not his best. So I’ll persevere and wait on him for his best.

I told my kids as they were growing up not to settle for second best when searching for a spouse but to wait for God’s best. The same lesson applies to our church. We must not settle for one marshmallow but for two. He’s growing our church the way he wants to. I must trust him in that. He’s got something great in store for us.

What about you? Are you settling for one marshmallow or waiting for his best? I encourage you to persevere. His best is coming. Trust God who is sovereign. He knows what he’s doing in your life. Be patient. Endure.

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36 (NIV)