By Jennifer Duncan
I have always known, in some vague sort of way, that Jesus is “with me.” My scripture-saturated upbringing taught me that from my earliest days. In fact, my favorite book as a small child was, “If Jesus Came to My House” by Joan Gale Thomas; a child’s imagination about what it would be like to have Jesus come to play. Even then, I WANTED Him to be “in my house.” I wanted Him to sit with me, and talk with me and share the things that I loved.
What I didn’t know back then was that being “in the midst” of His presence didn’t just mean having Him at my beck and call for a cozy chat. It is so much more than that. It means keeping a clean place for Him to dwell, free of harbored sin. It means walking in trust and obedience. These things are the keys to enjoying the peace and victory His presence brings.
“Since the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to defeat your enemies before you, therefore, your camp must be holy….” Deuteronomy 23:14
My life experiences, the disappointments and challenges that inevitably come, are what God has used to teach me the richness of life spent “in His midst.” In the early loss of my father, He taught me that my relationship with Him is the only permanent presence. In the empty nest days, when I pined over the end of the busiest days of mothering, He taught me that my true purpose can be found in His presence. In the death of my husband a few years ago, He taught me the precious companionship of His presence. And during my recent heart attack, He showed me the peace of His presence which is my abiding joy.
The lessons of these experiences did not come easily …the grief and fear and uncertainty were real enough! But His Spirit brought me, each time, to the same place. His call was clear …to a pure heart that sincerely trusted Him to show the next step. In His presence, I found a loving hand to hold.