And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. ~ Ephesians 6:18
Once again I have been humbled by God’s strong presence in our lives this week. It was disheartening to find out the noise that sounded like a box of rocks in our SUV was actually the transmission going bad. Even the mechanics were surprised we have to replace the entire thing. So here we are again taking one step forward and several steps backward. It’s very easy to feel like we can never get ahead, yet if we were ahead and this wouldn’t be a big deal for us, we would have missed out on what God wants us to learn this week. Yesterday Travis and I sat on the edge of our bed and prayed for God’s provision. I feel like that’s all I do – trust him to provide this or that or to get us over the next hurdle, through the next storm. And yet, isn’t that exactly what we are called to do? Rely on Him only, all the time. That’s why I love the verse above because our job is to constantly, in all things, keep praying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. God never intended for us to be independent, solve our own problems, live our lives through our own means and for our own gains. Our job is to trust, to walk in His strength, to fully believe He is enough. And to always thank him for his provision because he desires to pour his blessings out on us. And as Travis and I finished praying and I looked up to see my husband’s face so full of sorrow, I strongly heard God say “I will provide, Jehovah Shammah”. To be very honest, I had absolutely no idea if I was hearing God right because I didn’t know what Jehovah Shammah was. I had no idea that is a name of God meaning “God is there”, seen only in Ezekiel 48:35 where Jehovah is spoken of as though residing in an earthly city or place.
But it is Jerusalem the Lord is talking about when he reveals himself as Jehovah – Shammah, The Lord is There. This is in fact the very last line of the prophetic book of Ezekiel chapter 48:35; “All the way around shall be eighteen thousand cubits; and the name of the city (speaking of Jerusalem) from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.” Ezekiel is prophesying about a time that is yet to come.
It was such an intense reminder that God is already there in all of our tomorrows. What was true for Jerusalem is also true for us today. He is present in everything after the sun rises again. And he will still be present when the sun sets. He knows everything that is going to happen and is already present in that situation, far before we get there.
I think of how amazing that is with my own life as we trust God for the transmission that is being put in our SUV right now. I think of our sweet friends James and Sandy who are facing a multitude of changes in their family as they take in family members and also face James’s newly diagnosed cancer. He is already there, James and Sandy. I think of Steve and Danelle who are sending their oldest off to Westpoint next month. He’s already there, guys, waiting for Jesse to arrive. I think of Lisa and David and their sweet boys, one of whom is Brad’s best friend, as they move to Denver on Friday. He’s been there waiting for them to arrive. And he’s got it all under control. I think of Travis’s cousin Steve and Penny as they have to decide when to allow the doctors to perform a kidney transplant from Penny to their cute little boy, Steven. He knows the time. I think of my dad and stepmom who are facing the grueling task of caring for Donna’s aging parents who are in their 90’s trying everyday to continue living in their own house as their health fails. And while their time on earth is coming to a close, God is already there ready to welcome them home and to see you through the difficult days ahead, dad and Donna. There are so many people I can think of who are facing trials, we all do, yet it’s exciting to realize God is already ahead of the game, already there in the situation that is coming, already ready to face the task ahead, one day at a time. He’s ready to carry us through, ready to provide whatever we need, ready to pour his blessings out on us when we trust him to do exactly that.
My sister reminded me that God is also El Roi, “the God who sees”. It comes from Genesis 16 when Sarai gave Hagar to Abram then Sarai mistreated Hagar and she ran. God met her in Genesis 16:13 – She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” I love this –
God as El Roi is never caught by surprise; He never says, “Oh my! Look at that! How did that happen?” For He knows our future as well.
Nothing is a surprise to him. So whatever you are facing today, whatever is coming in the days or months ahead, my prayer is for you to find comfort in El Roi and Jehovah Shammah. He sees, he is not surprised and he is already there.