One of the choir members steps forward to lead the next song. Before she proceeds to sing, she exhorts the congregation and reminds us that the praise dance last week and even the testimonies this Sunday morning are all reminding us that God is with us.
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Matthew 1:23 KJV)
“God is with us” spoke to my spirit and led me to think of all the times God showed me He was with me and my family. One particular event in my life left an imprint as well as demonstrated God’s love, presence and joy in the midst of it all.
I was about 11 or 12 years old and it was just me, my mom and sister, who was 1 or 2 years old. We lived in a building on the southeast side of Chicago. We stayed on the 9th floor. My mom and sister were asleep and I was awoke, writing or typing a story (my love for writing began around this time). I suddenly smelled smoke and so I got up to see where it was coming from. As I entered the hallway of our apartment, I saw a blur of smoke. I went to the kitchen and checked the stove (this is where my constant nightly checking of the stove began). It wasn’t the stove. I woke my mom up and told her I smelled smoke. She then opened the door of our apartment and we saw the smoke out in the hallway.
To make a long story short, my mom grabbed her kids and her purse, and she led us to her bedroom window. She wasn’t sure where the fire was coming from and her immediate response was to lead us to the window. Outside, there were one or two fire trucks out in the streets and people standing down below watching. On the right side of our apartment, our neighbor was hanging out his window.
I recall my mom urging the firemen to come and get her girls and telling him she would just jump. Our neighbor too was urging the firemen to rescue him. I recall my mom dropping her purse down the nine stories, but I was too distracted by the events to hear its thump against the ground. My mom, sister and I were at the window; I was holding my sister on my hip, and then suddenly it happened. The ceiling came down on our heads. My sister screamed, I was crying (snotty nose crying) and my mom in panic. We thought the building was collapsing. In the midst of this all, we hadn’t realized how quickly our apartment turned pitch black and full of smoke.
To fast forward, my sister was rescued by one of the fireman. I believe the ladder couldn’t fully reach to the 9th floor so I believe my mom passed my sister to the fireman and he had to do some stretching. However, he grabbed her but as he proceeded to bring her down, he slipped and accidentally scraped her side. They almost fell but they eventually made it down the ladder safely. The neighbor was rescued and simultaneously my mom and I were rescued. The firemen burst through the door of our apartment and escorted us out. I guess that is why I love firemen to this day (LOL)!
After being rescued there was relief, thank-you-Jesus’, and some funny moments also. One of those funny moments was when the firemen got us to safety, the stairway. While in the stairway, a few of the firemen put down an elderly women they were carrying; they were fussing over who would carry my mom down instead. They ended up carrying the elderly lady after all, but that part tickles me to this day. To fast forward again, one year or two after this event another fire broke out in the same complex. Two girls were telling their story (on the Montel Williams Show) of how they too were on one of the higher level floors. Their mother DID jump. She died and all I could think about how that could have been my family. I couldn’t imagine what life would have been if my mom jumped or if we hadn’t made it out of that building. I think of my experience and realize that God was with us and He is still with us.
I think about all the tragedies and struggles my family has faced and know that God was there to comfort and guide us through it all. I think about how all the young men in my family are still living and have not fallen victim to gun violence. I think of how hard it has been for my mom being a single mom, yet God is with her.
I am elated to know that God is omnipresent, yet still personal and with each of us individually all at the same time. How awesome and mindboggling is that? Jesus was with us literally in flesh when God sent His only begotten son here on earth. Now God has sent His Holy Spirit to indwell all of His believers and He reminds us that He is with us always.
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:8 NIV)
It is important that God is with us because He can enlighten us by giving His perspective on the issue we are dealing with. If God is with us, His grace and mercy will be too. If God is with us, we are covered and protected too. God is with us; however, we are not always with Him. Sin and other things like idols, excessive hobbies or distractions can come in between our relationship with God and dull our hearing of His voice and our yearning to fellowship with Him. They can also hinder us from being/living in His presence. So let’s remember that although God is always with us, we may not always be experiencing the power and manifestation of walking/living in His presence, and we need to live in His presence.
Thank You for always being with us! If it had not been for You, where would we all be? Thank You for Your mercy and grace, Your protection and Your unfailing love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to remember our Emmanuel. I EMPOWER you to remember, when you are going through and when you are having good times too, that God is with you! Trust Him, abide in Him and remember that He will never leave you or forsake you.
Share an experience where God demonstrated that He is with you.
Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write! Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program. She helps assist Chicago Public School students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as helps them consider and prepare for college. God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a compassionate person and encourager so she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better through her support, actions and writing. Her favorite scripture comes from Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”