I am always aware of the Lord's presence; he is near, and nothing can shake me. (Psalm 16:8)
I realize this may sound crazy, but I watched these two tree swallows (at least I think they're tree swallows) for a few moments at a nearby pond and was immediately transported back in time to the day I spent in the labor and delivery room with my wife as she struggled through many hours of labor to give birth to our son. In spite of all the classes we attended where I was affirmed as such an important part of the birthing process, when push came to shove (no pun intended because the birth wound up being a caesarean section) I still felt like my wife was doing all the work and I was simply hanging out. Makes me wonder if the mama bird in my photo was looking out to make sure her "hubby" was still there, half expecting that he had gotten bored with all the waiting and flown off for some distractions. Why was she checking? Was his presence actually important even through there wasn't much for him to do but wait?
There is no substitute for the presence of another sharing the pain and joy of life. Media, electronics, and other distractions may occupy our attention for awhile but none can ever take the place of the assurance and peace that comes from the awareness of that other sitting or standing next to you in good times and others. Yet, sometimes I still have to check myself when that "practical" bone in my brain vibrates and says, "Well, there's nothing you can do so..." Our helplessness and awkwardness can be so powerful that they can make us want to fly away when all that is needed from us is our presence.
We take for granted the gift of God's presence with us when we fail to share our presence with one another. I've been known to remind my congregation during a worship service that their presence is important to someone sitting among us that day. We might not know what difficulty the person is facing, but that person walked through the door that morning hoping to experience the presence of God and the presence of the gathered.
Unshakable is how the psalmist says it feels to be aware of the Lord's presence. What a gift God has given us, and what a gift we have to share with one another - the presence of God in our shared presence with one another! I pray that God will help me appreciate the gift I've been given by sharing the gift of "presence" with others. How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia
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