In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15
Writing these devotionals has been such a blessing in my life. I have learned so much more about Scripture, about God’s loving nature, and especially about myself as I have looked more closely into my own heart.
I have heard from individuals that I have never met and from others who are friends and acquaintances, and their comments and stories have taught me more about faith, perseverance, and hope. We all have our own stories to tell and many of them are filled with the painful circumstances of life, but by hearing them, we receive hope and assurance from one another about God’s presence during these times.
When I started this journey a year and a half ago, my purpose was to share some of my own faith experiences with my children and grandchildren. I hoped to give each of them something to help them along on their spiritual journey – this walk of faith we all try to travel. I wanted to share Scripture passages that have been meaningful to me, but most of all, I wanted them to know that they can always trust God and that He will always be with them.
I spent a year reading, searching for just the right verse to fit the day or something that was going on in our family’s lives, reading commentaries and lessons on background information, writing, and trying to learn more about God’s Word. I tried to weave our family stories into each devotional so it would be something they could learn from, look back on, and remember. Every step along the way, I received such a blessing and hoped it would be for them. I had them bound into a book called Family Devotionals for 2014, and gave them as Christmas gifts in December of 2013.
During this process, Bob had offered much help and encouragement, and while working together, the idea for a blog came about. Scott set it up and “Living In His Loving Presence” began in January of 2014. I soon realized that I now had a different audience with somewhat of a different purpose, and while I appreciated the privilege of being able to share His Word, I also felt the responsibility it would entail.
I am not a biblical scholar by any means, and I can only share what God has meant to me and what He has done in my life. I have often worried that I might misinform, mislead, or offend someone with something I have written. But this verse always carried me through as I tried to just focus on sharing my faith and “giving the reason for the hope I have in Christ.”
Recently, I spent some time with a good friend and he commented on how he had been reading these posts. We talked about some of the topics I had written about and how difficult life can be. He seemed to hesitate as if there was more he wanted to say. He is a godly man and I value his friendship and opinion so I pressed him on what he wasn’t saying.
Finally, he admitted that sometimes I make it sound so easy to be a Christian – that if we just have faith, all will work out just fine and life will be full of joy. His concern was that some individuals who are reading the blog might misunderstand.
I explained that when I began this endeavor, my purpose was to give hope, to be positive, and to try to lift others up with the reminders of God’s love and grace. I knew I could write entry after entry about situations in my life and how painful they have been, but I wanted to focus on God’s goodness and the strength we can find in Him.
How do you reach that perfect balance and let others know? I understood what he was saying and I appreciated his thoughts. I know I sometimes overuse those desired comforting words such as love, peace, assurance, grace, hope, and joy. But I pray I never sound as if I have all the answers and that my life is perfect because of my belief in Him, because I don’t, and my life isn’t. I have known pain, grief, sorrow, disappointment, and all the other hard things of life – perhaps not in the same way that someone else has, but we all have our own burdens to carry.
Life can be hard and so can this walk of faith. It is a journey, and we are all still learning along the way. We all have our doubts, fears, anger, and frustrations as we go through uncertain times, but one thing that I have learned – that I would share with anyone – is that God has never once let me down. He has always been there to carry me through some really difficult times. And yes, I have found so much peace, joy, and grace in His loving presence. And by writing this blog, I am trying to help others know they can have it, as well.
It is my desire and prayer that in some way I will be able to pass on that hope and assurance I have found in Him to you. I pray as we all seek to know Him more that we will feel His presence and experience His love and grace. For in Him, there is always hope.
Dear Lord, there is so much about you and life we don’t understand. We may question and search, but may we never doubt that we can always find hope and strength in you. We thank you for your loving presence and for your saving grace. Amen