God With Us: Filling Empty Spaces

Author: Jenna Anderson | @mrsjenna_anderson

Emmanuel, God With Us. It’s funny to think of it now because almost all of my time these days is spent WITH people, namely my little ones. In a season where I crave some semblance of aloneness or privacy or I don’t know maybe just the chance to use the restroom in peace, the ever present with-ness of my life can be overwhelming. But for me this was not always the case. In fact, as a single missionary living in tiny villages for many of my adult years, the opposite was true. I can easily remember days and weeks and months where the level of isolation I faced made me feel like my achy heart might cave in. I was utterly alone and the idea of with-ness was something that I craved deeper than I can say.

Looking at the contrasting seasons of my life, I am convinced that God’s Emmanuel promise holds true in every moment. I know it has for me. Jesus chose to come, “and move into the neighborhood,” as Eugene Peterson puts it, to experience our joys and pain and the ordinary happenings of our life here on earth. He came to be WITH us. Bebo Norman wrote a song years ago that has always reminded me of what it looks like when God’s presence settles into our lives as His promised with-ness comes onto the scene.

“Tonight I rose up with the moon,
And looking down from high above
I saw a world carved and confused
Into valleys deep in need of love.
And falling down all thick with grace,
Heaven's cloud of mystery
Was filling every empty space,
Down to the depth of human need.”

When Jesus humbly settled into our disastrous digs, His promised presence filled up the empty spaces of our lives with a nearness that has changed everything.

He is here.

In the cracks of our brokenness.

In the belly of our laughter.

In the depth of our suffering.

In our loneliness or craving to be alone.

He cheers our triumphant highs and redeems our heartbreaking lows.

He graciously fills in the gaps of our deepest need with His love and grace and rest.

God’s Emmanuel promise changes everything for me. His promised with-ness secures the way for His Spirit to dwell with me in my darkest valleys and on majestic mountain tops alike. His peace and power is free to reign in my here and know bringing hope to the places I desperately need it most. His promise to faithfully show up and be there for me has steadied some seriously shaky seasons, giving me endurance to face whatever came next. God With Me means I don’t have to be afraid. In fact, I can face today and tomorrow with strength and authentic expectancy knowing that Jesus’ sweet companionship will lead my way. Emmanuel has never left my side. From missions on distant shores to small town motherhood days, He’s been there. His voice continues to speak the words I need to hear, His grace fills the gaps of my weaknesses with tender consistency, and His love reminds me that I am deeply valued and enough. This holiday season, let’s let the humbling truth of Jesus’ with-ness be the deep source of our true comfort and joy. Emmanuel, He has come.

Whitney Parnell1 Comment