“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
A few weeks ago, Don and I took a two-day trip to Deep Creek on our motorcycles. I had an experience during that trip that reinforced my strong belief in God’s living presence in our world today. This reality is a passion of mine that I want to share with everyone. That’s why I ask the question every Sunday, “Where have you seen God last week?” I want us to be actively looking for and finding God in our lives. When we do, it makes a difference in our spiritual journey and in how we live. Here are some ways our faith is nurtured when we recognize God’s presence in our lives: We find needed strength and hope through the tough times; God’s presence helps us know Him deeper and love Him more; God’s presence gives us peace; we become courageous when we know God is with us; when we are alone or feel alone, we know we are not because we believe that God is always with us; we experience and are aware of God’s blessings in our life; God’s presence protects us from harm.
I shared my experience in worship during the God moment time on the Sunday after the return of our trip. I shared that we arrived at a point in our riding when we needed to stop halfway-up on a somewhat steep hill. I have pulled off of inclines like this numerous times without any problem. However, on this day, I was having problems. I repeatedly stalled my motorcycle. Don had already made it to the top of the hill and was waiting for me. Through our communicators, he encouraged me. It was impossible for him to help me any other way. He could not back down the hill, and even if he could, I could not get off the bike on that incline and hand it over to him to get it up the hill. I had to do it.
I noticed another biker behind me, which increased my anxiety. He fit the negative stereotype many people have about bikers. Noticing I was having trouble, he pulled up beside me and kindly asked me if I was having trouble to which I responded, yes. He quietly stayed by my side…only speaking once to suggest I keep my hand off the brake. He could have gone around me easily and been on his way; but he didn’t. He stayed by my side. After many more attempts, I finally pulled off the hill and Don and I were on our way. I was embarrassed, shaken and relieved.
But as we rode away, I thanked God for his encouraging presence through that biker. I very likely will never see that man again, but I will never forget that moment. If that biker had gone around me, my anxiety likely would have been magnified…pressuring me to work faster and perhaps doing something foolish. Staying by my side helped me keep from panicking and perhaps dropping my bike. Like this biker, we have the opportunity and privilege to offer the presence of God to those in need. We bring to others God’s encouragement and peace to help them on their journey. Sometimes, all that is required is that we…like this biker did for me…stay by their side.
Oh yes, brothers and sisters…God is alive…a very real Presence in our lives! Look for Him in your life everyday…during both the good and the troubling times. And, with God’s empowerment, be God’s Presence to others.