Face to Face
A number of years ago, when our family was going through a very dark, difficult time, we were temporarily living in another country. We were attending a small house church, and one Sunday, when we were about to return to the other country we were living in (it’s complicated, I know!), our house church had a prayer time for us. At the end of the prayer time, a woman came up to me and shared that while praying, she had had a picture of Jesus, holding our family’s hands. I was really struck by that, and it became a very precious picture to me. Jesus was holding my hand in the midst of all the difficulties I was experiencing. He was right here beside me. Walking with me. Holding me. Loving me.
Well, fast forward a couple of years. I have sent two children back across the ocean to live in our passport country, while we continue our work in Central Asia. Each time I have sent a child on a plane halfway across the world, I have remembered the image that woman shared with us. Jesus holding, not just my hand, but ALL of our hands. And I am reminded that He is holding my sons’ hands as they live a world away from me. Even though I cannot hold their hands, there is One who IS able to hold their hands.
This has given me great peace.
And now, we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. So many things have been ripped out of our control. We have had to grieve many losses. And we continue to. My son was supposed to get married in May, but due to the pandemic, it has been put on hold indefinitely. He is separated by an international border from his fiancé. And my heart breaks for them. And for myself, that, when they do get married, I very likely will not be able to make it to the wedding. The thought of not being at my firstborn child’s wedding is hard for me to fathom.
Then my oldest daughter had hoped to go to a school in Europe, but because of the pandemic, it is looking like she will be unable to get into that country. She is disappointed. After being stuck here for the summer, when she had intended to return to Canada (but unable to because there are no flights out), now having more plans dashed is sad. And I feel her sadness too.
And there is coronavirus. It is running rampant in the country we are living in. Hospitals are full and overflowing. Equipment is lacking. Ambulances never arrive because the waiting list is so long. Friends and acquaintances are sick with the virus. Some deathly ill. And I have found my fear increasing. Knowing that if I get really sick, there is not really any help to be had.
But, the other day, I was listening to a new song on Spotify. It was a new release by Natalie Grant called Face to Face. As I listened, I was struck by the lyrics...
Here I am, I'm reachin' out
I need You always, oh, I need You now
My hope is found in Your embrace
Hand in hand until we stand face to face
Hand in hand until we stand face to face
Hand in hand till we stand face to face
Tears formed in my eyes, and I felt my throat choke up as I felt Jesus speaking these words to my heart...”Remember? I am walking with you, hand in hand, no matter what happens, I am with you. Always. Til we stand face to face.”
My heart calmed, and I smiled at my Jesus. Yes. You are with me. Beside me. Holding me. No matter what. You will not leave me or forsake me. Til I see You face to face.
Have all my problems gone away? No.
Has my fear completely disappeared? No.
But when my fear arrives, I turn on this song. I remind myself that Jesus is with me. I spend time talking with Him. And the dial of my fear turns back, a little less strong. My fear is a reminder to soak myself in Jesus’ presence. To spend time in His Word. To listen to music that encourages me. To spend time in prayer. To fill my soul with reminders of God’s goodness and faithfulness and presence. And to relinquish my fears to the One who truly cares and is here with us.
And so that is my desire.
He speaks these same words to you. And offers to hold your hand as well.
Will you reach for Him and take it?
He is waiting. With great love in His heart. For you.