I remember a summer day several years ago in the cemetery where my father sleeps. From bushes that grew wild along the fences, my sister and I picked ripe Saskatoon berries. With what remained of my father’s physical presence nearby, emotionally he made a way into our conversation.
Daddy was a frequent topic between us. My memories of him are those of a ten year old child. Scattered events. Warm cuddles. Hours fishing. After he passed, I always wanted to know more. As we dropped berries into our repurposed yogurt containers, I asked my sister questions.
Of all the things we discussed that day, one thing my sister said has always stayed with me. She looked at me over a half full berry bucket “I always thought he would be with us.”
That is the nature of our familial relationships, we can’t imagine them not a part of our lives. We have an intellectual understanding that none of us lives forever. But the loss, when it comes, is profound. Our parents are part and parcel of our very existence. Bound up in the milestones of our lives, inherent and integral to who we are as people.
And then, they die. Pass on. Cross over. We cannot follow. No more phone calls. No more stories over coffee. No more surprise encounters.
But, unlike our earthly parent, our heavenly Father is eternally present.
Throughout the Old Testament, over and over, God told the Nation of Isreal, “I am with you.” In the New Testament, Jesus said to his followers, “I am with you, even to the end of the world.”
All our lives, we yearn for comfort in knowing we are not alone. God would say to us even now, “I am with you.”
I believed and trusted my earthly father whenever he told me, “it’s ok, I’m right here.”
But, even more so, I believe my Heavenly Father when he says “I am with you.”
How about you?
This is the first post in a series that examines the supposition that God is with us. Next time, I’m going to take a look at some of the times and circumstances in which God made this promise in the past.