"Emmanuel" means "God with Us." We often focus and reflect on this truth over the Christmas season. The birth of Christ and his entrance into our world changes everything. God's presence is always with us and anytime of year is a good time to reflect on God dwelling with us.
I read a book about a woman who takes God to couples counseling. She has some issues she needs to address with God and seeks help communicating with him about what’s been going on. I love this idea. God is with us-–in our search for healing and recovery, even in your therapist’s office!
The Psalms model for us how to take our concerns before God and ask for answers. God is with us and he cares about what you need to say:
Through Christ you have access to the God who says “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (Jeremiah 33:3). People seek counseling when discomfort of body, soul, and/or spirit creates the need for healing, and resources of their own are insufficient. If those who come into therapy chose to engage God directly, they have the hope of him revealing things that will make a significant lasting change in their life. Significant and lasting change is something we long for.
Have you ever thought about therapy being a place where you can work on discovering great and hidden things from the God who is with us? We can learn to interact with the Holy Spirit as we allow ourselves to practice stillness and opening our hearts as we listen to him speak. Many times the voice of God is distorted or drowned out by our own thoughts or the countless loops of feedback and input received from outside sources. It is a practice and discipline to become quiet and still. It may seem strange at first, but next time you are seeking an answer, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Invite Jesus to speak. Open your mind and heart, expectantly, to the Spirit of God who speaks to us through our senses and tells us he is here, with us, even in the discomfort, the need and the desired changes.
Let this be a year where you not only become increasingly more aware of your moments, but you also become aware of the voice of Father God.
Take a moment right now. Allow yourself to quiet and settle into this moment. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Let your brain have a break and awaken your heart to hear. What do you notice? Invite the Spirit to speak to you. Listen, not with your brain, but with your heart.
For the Lord speaks:
…in the gentlest whisper (1 Kings 19:12).
…like a shepherd in whom sheep find security (John 10:27-28).
…like a piercing sword penetrating to the depth of our need (Hebrews 4:12).
…with a word that quiets the raging storm (Mark 4:39).
Next time you are anxious, keep an open seat for Emmanuel, the God who is with us. Set your body, soul and spirit to receive, for the God who speaks has great things for you.
Rev. Deb Koster
Rev. Dr. Steven Koster