I revealed in one of my last blogs that we had a son who died six weeks after birth. While he was on this earth part of his time was spent in Riley’s Children Hospital in Indianapolis. At the time we lived an hour and half away. At that time there was no Ronald McDonald’s house. Also, during the time my husband worked for Pepsi Cola Bottling Plant in Muncie, Indiana. They were a company that had a Union. During the same months that our son was in Indianapolis it was contract time at the plant. The men at the plant chose to go on strike during the same time frame. Now because we were young and just starting our family and had already gone through some difficult situations we were not wealthy. His being on strike would definitely hinder us from driving to Indianapolis daily to visit our son. His boss and co-workers knew of our situation. He called his boss and they worked out a deal where Greg would meet his boss off site and Greg would pick up the service truck and continue running service calls during the strike so he could continue to get paid. That way he wouldn’t have to cross picket lines. This worked well for a few days until someone got wind of it. One day he came home and related this story to me. He said, “I was running calls and was going from one place to another. All of a sudden several vehicles surrounded me and forced me off the road. When I got out it was some of the men who worked at Pepsi. They were going to literally beat me up for crossing picket lines. I told them ok, but before you do let me explain why I am doing this. I told them about our son in Riley’s and how we didn’t have the money to get back and forth. I told them how important it was for you to be there daily and that was why I was still working. Now if you want you can continue, but I am also going to continue doing what I need to do so I can get my wife to Indianapolis to see our son. After that the man in charge apologized and told me to continue and not to worry about crossing picket lines. He would make sure everyone understood what was happening and I would be safe from then on out.” I can’t remember, but I am thinking they even gave him some money. For the rest of the strike Greg worked and no one gave him any problems.
As I think back about this situation I realize now God’s hand was on Greg and was in this situation. I think about what could have happened and how devastating it could have been for me and our family, but I know God was in the midst of this. As I reflect back on this situation I am beginning to wonder how many other times in our lives did God step in take care of us and we missed it or wasn’t aware of it? His presence was surely with us.
There have been many instances as I look back on my life and I have seen God’s presence in my life. I am aware of some times, but what about other times? Have there been times I may have missed when God stepped in and took care of me or took care of the situation?
I am so happy to know that even if I am not aware of His presence He is still with me. His presence will never leave me if I follow His commandments and choose to love Him daily. “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8
“So the LORD was very angry at Israel. He removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was spared.” 2 Kings 17:18 How do you think it would feel to have God remove you from His presence? I just can’t imagine not being in God’s presence. We know God is light and when we accept God God’s light shines in our life. So, what I am thinking is if you do not have God in your presence then you must live in complete darkness. I have been in a cave where they have turned out all the lights and you are standing in darkness. It is pretty scary. You can’t see anything in front of you, behind you, over you or under you. You can’t move because you don’t know the direction to take. That’s as close as I can imagine not having God in my life; a pretty scary thing. The other thing I am reminded of when I am in a cave and lights are out, even though Greg may be next to me I can’t see him. Then loneliness suddenly hits and I may be in the midst of a crowd, but because it is dark I can’t see anyone or even feel their presence. The loneliness one must feel without God’s presence in their lives must be horrible.
From the scriptures above we learn the Israelites made God made enough He removed them from His presence. I can’t imagine how that must have felt. We know from the Bible apparently it never bothered them until they needed Him. Then they would repent and He’d forgive them and His presence would be felt till the next time. I know me pretty well. I know that after a time or two I would be worried that one of these times God would say, “Enough!” He would take His presence from me never to return. I know I am not perfect nor never will be until God calls me home, but I know I plan on never making God that mad at me. It’s just not worth it. I had someone asked me once, “What if after you die you find out there is no God or Heaven. What then?” My reply was simple, “You might be right. Maybe there is no God or Heaven, but maybe your wrong and there is. Why would I want to take that chance?” That’s the same thing with making God mad, why would I want to take the chance of making God mad and have Him take His presence from me? It’s just not worth the chance.
I may not always be aware of God’s presence in my life. I may not be aware of those times He works things out and I don’t know it. I may not even feel His presence in my life all the time, but it doesn’t change things. He’s still there and He still does things whether I am aware of them or not. The best thing I can do is to pay Him back not with sacrifices, but with Godly living, always loving Him and always moving forward in Him. And those times I am aware of His presence in my life, well, I need to bow down and say thank you and not let those times pass me by.
When is the last time you realize God worked in your life and at the time you weren’t aware of it? Have you ever lost God’s presence in your life? How did it feel? Ask God every day to make you aware of His presence in His life and then stop and wait….He will show you if you truly believe.
Dear God: Thank you for protecting Greg so many years ago. I may not have been grateful or even stopped and said thanks, but I do now knowing you were in the midst of all that. Forgive me for those times I am not aware of your presence and you do some awesome work. When I am aware of Your Presence in my life may I stop and magnify your name and give you all the honor, glory and praise. Thank you for the lessons the Israelites teach us. May I never make you so mad you will take your presence from me. May I always walk in your light and may I follow your path. Amen