I’d like to tell you about the times I’ve experienced Jesus’ presence. These were times when I was scared and felt alone or bereft by grief.
The first time I am truly aware of experiencing Jesus’ presence in a very extraordinary way was when I was 27. I was single and on staff with Cru. I was on a break before heading back to my assignment and staying at my parents. I had gone to see my eye doctor. He looked into my eyes, called an eye surgeon, and within the hour, I was being seen by an eye surgeon.
I knew there was something wrong with my eye, but I didn’t know what. The eye surgeon, looked into my eyes, told me I had a detached retina, swore, then walked out of the room. I was alone in the room, and so scared. I didn’t know what would happen next. Suddenly, I felt Jesus’ presence by my side. I didn’t see Jesus, but He was there. I was flooded by peace and strength. Jesus said, “You’re going to be all right. Your eye will be all right.” I didn’t hear this in an audible voice, but it was so clear, I might as well have heard it that way.
Then the eye surgeon came back and told me that he was sending me to another eye surgeon. He told me I would probably lose sight in my eye, maybe both eyes. However, since experiencing Jesus presence, I was no longer afraid; I was calm and reassured.
I went down to the Detroit area, and had eye surgery done by a kind doctor. He was encouraging and told me we were going to get the eye taken care of right away. He did an amazing job, and I have almost 20/30 vision restored in that eye.
Every year when I go to my current eye doctor, he makes a comment about how astounding it is that I can see as well as I can out of that eye. Jesus has healed blind people many times, and I think Jesus prevented me from going blind. He bestowed his grace and mercy upon me.
I have also experienced Jesus’ presence, when I’ve gone through labor and delivery. Every single time, I have been apprehensive, (as most moms will tell you—each time is different, so you kind of know what to expect, but at the same time you don’t.) But the first time, the first time, I was terrified. I don’t know why childbirth preparation classes show videos of other women giving birth, screaming at their husbands, in utter agony. These videos do not help the fear factor of birth. They just make it worse. I kept praying over and over again, “God if you can make labor better for me than those women, I saw give birth, I would really appreciate it.”
Of course, I was not alone. My husband was with me, and my sister, who is a labor and delivery nurse, was with me. What comfort I drew from them! My sister had already had 3 of her children and was 6 and 1/2 months pregnant with her fourth when she came to help me.
I think my sister’s presence was equally helpful to both my husband and I. She had been through this herself and as a nurse, and we drew on her experience and knowledge. However, there was a point where my courage was flagging and at that exact point, I experienced Jesus presence once again. I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through labor and delivery as calmly as I did, without Jesus giving me His strength.
When I was in labor with Sean, (my third child), I experienced Jesus’ presence again. It was a particularly grueling and painful labor. I wanted to scream and yell and give up, and Jesus showed up. He got me through. He gave me courage when I had none left.
In the past 6 ½ years since Sean has been gone, I have experienced Jesus’ presence so many, many times. Usually it is when I am in the depths of grief and I think I can’t bear any more pain, that I experience Jesus by my side. Often, He will comfort me with words of love and reminders that He is with me. Often, He is silent and listens to my grief. He brings me His strength.
For a long while, when our family would go to church, every worship service, we would be standing in the back row of church, crying during the service. During those times, I would experience Jesus standing with us, throwing His mantle over us.
It’s funny—something that hardly ever happened—experiencing Jesus’ Presence– is something that occurs rather regularly now. Scripture is true, “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted.”
I hope when you are at your lowest points and you’re scared and alone, that you experience Jesus’ presence and intervention in your life—that you experience God’s grace and mercy and His miraculous blessings of life. If you do, you will find what I have, God shows up for us — because He is such a great God and His grace and mercy are limitless; His love is unconditional. Jesus cares for us. “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and He saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
I know when someone shares their God stories with me, I can be tempted to compare myself to them and come out on the losing side of the comparison. I did not share these stories for that reason. I know Jesus did not show up for me, because I’m all that great. Jesus showed up because He is love. He is love to me and He is love to you. He simply loves us. If sharing my story, can help anyone know in a more tangible way–“Yes, Jesus loves me”–then I’m happy to share my story. I’m happy to encourage us to know that Jesus is real, and Jesus does love us. 🙂 So Be Encouraged. 🙂