Familiar. Routine. Preventative. All labels of comfort crashed to cold tiles of an exam room floor. “Raise your arm. We need to check your lymph nodes.” The words seared from my ears, through my brain, to my heart. Tears welled like a tapped spring spilling. “It’s just a precaution. Don’t worry.”
Precaution became a centrifuge swirling the unfamiliar until I was dizzy and the world was jarringly distorted—biopsy, schedule, hospital, surgeon. Suddenly a vacuum pulled away the everyday until my feet dangled beneath me without the stable ground of normal.
I opened the church door and “How did it go?” met the shake of my head. Stinging tears melted into safe embrace. And just like that, the Body mobilized—the Body Christ designed of people, of souls, of His own Spirit. Before I knew it, I was mingling tears in the arms of a breast cancer survivor. “There came a time in that radiology room,” she shared, “that I begged God to just let me hear His voice. And He said, bigger than I’ve ever heard Him, simply—‘I am here.’”
When I got home, I wandered lost until my eyes landed long on a book atop the waiting pile. For such a long time, I had intended to read Max Lucado’s Fearless. Indeed, now was the time to be fearless. I opened it mid-book. Seems I start everything somewhere but the beginning. And the words closing that opened page? “I am here.”
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NIV
We welcomed the Christmas season that Sunday before surgery—Isaiah’s promises come to the world. As we sang Immanuel, my heart rejoiced in the face of the unknown and feet with no ground, for our God is Immanuel. God with us. Come for us.
“I am here.”
And so He was. And so He is. And so I wept relief.
My story is victorious, even insignificant, in many ways. That lump was benign. That surgery, simple. Those results, blessedly fast. And the scar, all but invisible. But the lesson? The message? Life changing. Life breathing. Life shaping. “I am here.”
In the familiar, the routine, the everyday, do we remember He is here? Do we breathe the life-giving power of that nearness? Do we draw near to Him, His plans, His shape-carving and way-making when we rise?
And when we feel we can’t rise, do we rest fearless, waiting upon His whisper, soft but solid? “I am here.”
This Advent season, I stood to worship and full the sweet words Immanuel burst forth, the chorus of a thousand voices. His resounding call. His gentle whisper. I am here.
Do you need to hear His voice today? Draw near, sweet friend. It’s Christmas. Linger. Listen. He is here. Immanuel.