Monday, September 18, 2017
TIME IN HIS PRESENCE
By Angeline M Duran Santiago
Saturday morning, I put aside how I was feeling and a mind filled with a million things to do according to my calendar. It had been a few days already and all I knew was that I was hungry, deep in my heart to be just be present in the house of the Lord. I had been living on small bites of prayer here and there and my insides were anxious for the Bread of Life.
Entering the sanctuary, I inwardly rejoiced to find the sanctuary just as I had wished it and seen it in my heart. Nothing had started yet and to find an empty church to me was finding a gold mine. I had dragged myself and willed myself to obey the longing in my heart, and oh, how wonderful to find the space all for me.
Taking advantage of the time alone and not knowing how long I’d have the place to myself, I came before the Lord. As I just spoke my thoughts and my heart out, I saw myself as the woman with the issue of blood in the Bible who was pressing through the multitude, pushing through, being bruised, pushed and maybe even trampled on at some point, but she persevered and crawled if she had to if only to touch the hem of His garment. “I’m here, Lord.” I said. “I don’t know how to push through anymore. I’m tired. I’m exhausted. I’m waiting and believing that You are in control and that You have a plan, but I’m still here surrounded by the multitude that reminds me of all the unanswered prayers, of my mishaps and mess ups. I’m pushed against and yelled at by those who remind me there’s still something wrong with me, or that I’m not enough, or that this is my destiny; to live with unanswered prayers, family that need healing, loved ones that can’t break through their addictions, and a fight that never ends.”
I poured out my heart to the Lord and saw myself taking that stand where I am usually found, one that declares, “I can fight a little longer because the Lord is with me, I will not be afraid!” Then I asked the Lord to help me to get my eyes and my heart off of everything and everyone that took up my space and my time, so that I could focus on Him, His Voice and His leading. “Remove those things that in my life that keep me so occupied and worried that I take care of them and forget to trust you and surrender it all to you. Help me to focus and keep my eyes and my heart on You.”
Voices behind me where a sign that my alone time with the Lord which I cherished so much had come to an end and I would have to share His Presence. And, that was ok, for the room was being filled with women just like me that perhaps had also ended up here pushing through the crowds of their family obligations, their burdens and their hang ups. But, they were here, to soak in His Presence.
The time of worship was lovely. I knew without a doubt that I belonged here, in this moment. Soon afterwards, the speaker took her part. My heart was astonished as she shared. “How, Lord? How could this be?” She spoke and her words were the words I had spoken to the Lord in secret. The guest speaker spoke about keeping the focus on the Lord and not only identifying the distractions, but knowing how to put them aside and making God my priority in this busy world. She spoke about the many responsibilities we have and how sometimes we have to set them all aside just to be able to be alone with Jesus and see Him at work in our lives, as He did with the little girl that was returned to life with just a spoke word. And then she shared on how Jesus took the time to pay attention to something as small as recognizing the touch of someone upon his garment. At this, I knew, if no one else was getting this message, I knew, “Lord, I am that woman. Speak into my life, I receive it.”
Although Jesus was on a mission, he was still interested in this woman with the issue of blood. She pushed her way to get to Jesus. Yes, He had what many called an emergency to attend to, a child was dying or as the story goes, she dies on the way before Jesus gets to her home. But, through it all, Jesus stopped to let this outcast of a woman who most likely felt alone, unwanted and unloved, without a purpose and at the end of her rope, He stopped to recognize her, to smile and make a big deal in regards to what she did, to bring attention to what she had done.
She had stretched forth her hand to touch Him if even with her fingertips. Maybe this was her last chance. Maybe she had planned on taking her life and ending it all if she couldn’t get Him to slow down enough to stretch through the crowd. Jesus made a big deal about her healing and her deliverance moment. Jesus stopped his mission to celebrate this woman’s faith. He knew her desperations and her intentions. Jesus knew she was moving on her final strength, and He acknowledged her. His look of love that turned from facing forward into the needs of others, made Him stop, make an about face and seek her out.
On Saturday, I was that woman.
And Jesus stopped in a corner of Keansburg and in a very gently way turned around and said, “Who has touched me?” Lord, I was that woman among so many other woman, broken, abandoned in so many ways, hurt and feeling at my end that came for a word and you spoke into my life.
The moment you feel that tug in your life to press through, push through your situations and your circumstances, leave the house and just follow the call of your heart to be in the Lord’s house as if it’s an emergency, because you know what, the dishes and the laundry will still be there when you get home. So, why worry. The Lord is calling us out for more. “Just come.” Is all I heard and I followed, and oh, how I was restored and reminded to continue to press onward.
Do not give up. Do not lose hope. Don’t let your faith be crushed by your circumstances or situations. Don’t allow the things you are experiencing determine the time you give to the Lord. Let those challenges or lack of them lead you always into His presence. For the Lord is good, and His mercy endures forever!
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