And remember I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.—Matthew 28:20
As we celebrate Christmas, we reflect upon Emmanuel, God with us, who came in the form of a helpless baby. We try to imagine what it would have been like to look upon Him, to walk with Him, to feel His touch. How we long to be in His presence now, of all times! But even in the face of all the hardships individuals, families, communities and our world at large have suffered, we can be assured God is still with us.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.—Deuteronomy 31:6
Jesus knew His disciples did not want to say goodbye to Him 40 days after His resurrection. They probably wondered how He could leave them at such a critical time. The world was full of Christ-deniers. His presence would surely solve everything.
Still He left—physically, at least. But He left His Holy Spirit to guide and empower them. His power would not be diminished by His physical absence; instead, it would be magnified.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”—John 14:12
And so it was His disciples did great works by the power of His Holy Spirit. Though they undoubtedly still longed for His physical presence, they knew Jesus had not left them alone.
He is still with us today. Even in the turmoil, in the uncertainties and in the suffering, He is still with us. So why don’t we see evidence of that?
Maybe we have pinned our hopes on this world and not on the One who made it. The disciples were able to accomplish great things through their reliance upon Him, knowing their own power was insufficient for the tasks at hand. Their secret was in abiding.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.—John 15:4-5
Likewise, we can’t trust in our own strength. We can’t rely upon our own wisdom. We can’t assume that what we see is all that we get—no, friends, because there is so much more with Him.
God is still with us. But we must ask ourselves if we are still with Him.
Abide. Trust in Him. He is here, He is good, and He is love.