Oh, Oh, Oh, Emmanuel – God with us – Part 2
Last week, I shared with you my recent time of burden, with hesitation actually, since these encouragements are not to be about me, but rather, intended to be relatable. Such was my hope. I shared how God met me where I was and pulled me out of that time of despair. In response, I received an unusual number of emails from so many of you who felt the message was needed by you in your own personal time of struggle also happening in these days. Baruch HaShem for the courage to share! What I learned was how universally so many of us are in a time of suffering.
Last week we reflected on how our Abba meets us where we are through Yeshua. In our moments of deepest challenges He lifts us up and brings us to Him in the ways we can see He is with us. It takes deliberate intention to stay in that space individually, within that intimate relationship with Him. Yes, He is with each of us, yet we must make time for, seek, and cling to that understanding to have the ability to receive Him, to hear Him. There are so many moments in the day when it’s hard to stay in that place with Him as we have other responsibilities at work and at home that pull us away from such dedicated time together. So the days inevitably are up and down unless we keep reminding ourselves that He’s got this which in the real world is an enormous task at times such as these.
Although I was in a pretty good place when I came to services last Shabbat, there I experienced the next level – the joy of the Lord. Literally, something overcame me as I joined in worship in community. I had to dance! I had to sing! I had to smile! I felt so joyful seeing the faces of those worshipping together. The same is true on Zoom for those not able to attend. I remember dancing in my home during lockdown experiencing all of us together worshipping Him. As I worshipped, I felt what those words meant, “To love the Lord with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your strength.”
My connection to Him was taken to a new amplified level on Shabbat to a spiritual connection to Him deepened by the prayers and worship of those joined with me in that service. My closeness to Him was heightened by joining in worship with others. The intentional prayer of others boosted my own ability to be close to Him. It was a shot in the arm, like a spiritual vaccine about which all of us can agree.
We are only beginning to understand the blessing of Rabbi Nathan and Raina to this community. My feeling is that their joy in the Lord will spread not just to the Ruach Israel community but far beyond its walls and current Zoom reach. They are bringing this time in Messianic Judaism to where we need to be as we more deeply understand we cannot be who God created us to be without community. And it is not a coincidence that this focus is occurring at exactly the same time as the evil one through Covid strives to drive us apart, both physically and emotionally.
In whatever ways work for you, just know you are not in your journey alone. You not only have Yeshua. You also have community. Even if for a time all of us cannot be together physically, in our hearts, and in our worship, we must be together. Virtually or in person, take strength in community in Him.