But God is with us always
Hebrews 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus the great Shepherd of the sheep and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.
Matthew 28:20 Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
I intended to finish Matthew and Hebrews while it was still April, so I could start a new series on First and Second Peter in May, but I didn’t quite pull it off. This is a crazy weekend in Pittsburgh. Not only is it Commencement weekend at the University of Pittsburgh, but today is the annual Marathon, closing off hundreds of streets. And it’s raining all day, with severe thunderstorms likely. (Ah—I just heard the roll of thunder.) Due to inaccessibility, our church held services yesterday evening instead of today, though the youth group is standing in the rain handing out Gatorade to marathon runners.
We’ve been watching with delight the orchid we brought home from our son Dan and April’s wedding last September bloom again. The fourth one opened while we were gone, and the fifth one yesterday. Aren’t they gorgeous?
I’ve been receiving advice about how to care for this orchid. So far, though, all we’ve done is give it a half cup of water every week. And apparently it likes the window where it is placed. It’s a picture for me of partnership. Had we not watered it, the orchid would have died. But the orchid itself has done all the rest. If it’s like it was last fall, these blooms will last for weeks, reminding us daily of the beauty of Dan and April’s lives and their love for each other even though we can’t be with them physically right now.
What if we had thrown out our orchid during its period of dormancy, or stopped watering it when it wasn’t blooming? Aren’t we tempted to disparage ourselves or give up during those times when we don’t see the results of our work? Not so the Lord. He’s faithful to us always, quietly nurturing our souls so we’re ready for those times when we bloom externally. Note that Matthew begins and ends with the assurance that God is with us (“Immanuel, God with us,” Matthew 1:23; “I am with you always,” 28:20). And Hebrews concludes commenting on the eternal covenant he has with us, providing us with what we need to honor him (13:20).
As an introvert, I prefer the times of quiet, when I can do my work in solitude. “Aren’t you excited?!” people have said to me, referencing the three books in three different languages and countries all coming out at the same time. Maybe in a few weeks I will be, when all this extra activity calms down and I can go back into my “cave.” Right now, my extrovert energy feels quite depleted, so please pray for me tomorrow morning during the virtual launch of the Karis book in Brazil. You’re welcome to participate! 11:00 a.m. Eastern time (noon in Brazil), @editorabetania on Instagram.
Pray the book will encourage those who read it, and reward Editora Betânia for their investment. And thank God with me for this promise from Hebrews, that he will equip me for this as I seek to please and honor him.