Immanuel: God With Us?

The One who created you is closer than you think.

by Tami Rudkin

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel — which means, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23, NIV).

Immanuel: God with us. Really . . . God with us? The prophet Isaiah, some 700 years before the birth of Christ, said Jesus would be born to a virgin, and He would be called Immanuel. Two thousand years ago an angel declared it to Joseph.

But what about us — you and me — living in the twenty-first century? I haven’t heard from an angel lately, have you?

Divine absence?

Look around you. Do you see God with us?

I see crowds of people cheering men as they carry a pigskin up and down a grassy field. I see children mesmerized by games that shoot colorful lasers, rockets, and bullets. I see youth killing themselves slowly with drugs and alcohol. I see throngs pack the mall to buy in hopes of feeling . . . something.

Many marriages dissipate; every few seconds a woman is battered by someone she loves, and children watch silently until they have had enough and then pull guns.
God with us?

Sensory presence

I wonder. Is He really Immanuel — God with us — today?

Yes.

I see Him in the perfectly shaped rose. I hear Him as the singer sings melody sweet. I feel Him as the rays of the sun warm me. I smell Him after the pitter-patter of refreshing rain. And I marvel at Him as the sun sets in all of its colorful glory.

People presence

Nature shouts of God’s presence, but maybe that’s not what we want to hear. We want to see God in people: That’s where our lives count. Human interaction is what really matters. Where is God when people come into the picture?

God is in that small, vulnerable child so willing to forgive. God is in that carpenter not willing to cut corners at your expense. God is in the teacher who finds worth in the student no one else has cared about. God is in the man who prays for those who don’t know Jesus, in the woman who gives sacrificially of her time, in the youth who chooses right over popularity, and in the boy who shares his favorite toy with his brother.

Inclusive presence

God is with us. Can’t you see Him?

Won’t you feel Him as He touches your life with the beauty of friendship, the wonder of worship, the craftsmanship of the cottonwood, and the raucous laughter of loved ones?

Immanuel: God with us. In everything beautiful, He is with us. In everything ugly, He is with us. When joy is our companion, He is with us. When pain tears at our very essence, He is with us. Where love begins, God is with us. And when love seems a distant emotion, God is with us — once as a newborn baby but now as friend, as Savior and Lord.

God with us?

Yes. He is not some distant, haughty, punishing God but the servant, the lover, and the resurrected Savior come to be God with us. Amid all of life’s ups and downs, we — with men of old — shall call Him Immanuel.

God is with us.