By Chaplain Sheri Leisman
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10.
Recently, a friend was driving and realized her knuckles were white with a grip on the steering wheel. As she identified underlying anxieties, she named them out loud to God in prayer. Suddenly, God gave her these words: “you are being taken care of by a God who loves you.”
She repeated with wonder, “I am being taken care of by a God who loves me….my son is being taken care of by a God who loves him, my friend, this trouble….etc.”
Most of us have never experienced life-endangering persecution like the early followers of Christ or Christians from other parts of the world today. Yet, we can be powerfully tormented in our minds and souls. We are persecuted by fear, loneliness, or pain. We are persecuted by regret, missed opportunity, or anger toward life realities beyond our control.
How do we mesh the love and care of Almighty God with these realities? How is this blessed?
Psalm 90:1-2 reminds us that God is not just “out there” but is Immanuel, “God with us”…here: “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations….from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.” Eugene Peterson reminds that we are enfolded into God’s dwelling where we are, just as we are: “We sink the life we have, this hour, this day [the good and the bad] into God’s will and in His presence, we find hope and blessing.”
Often as believers get older, the line thins between life in God’s dwelling here on earth and life in His eternal dwelling in heaven. In this, they are a witness to God’s enfolding presence. All exists within the dwelling place of God and we are tenderly held there…. in the care of the One who loves us. And we are blessed.