Fear not … I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you (Isaiah 43:1-2 NIV).
Friend to Friend
While walking into the opening session of a conference, my husband’s cell phone rang. He answered the call, then as the emcee welcomed us to the weekend, Brad leaned over and whispered in my ear. “Preston fell on a rock at camp. They’re taking him to urgent care to get stitches in his chin.”
Deep breath in.
Less than an hour later, my husband’s phone rang again. “The doctor said Preston actually broke his jaw. They need us to pick him up and take him to Charlotte. He might need surgery.”
Gripped by his words, I struggled to think clearly … A broken jaw? Surgery? It was supposed to be just a few stitches! Bags were packed quickly and by the time darkness fell, Charlotte was on the horizon.
The next several hours were a blur of doctors, x-rays, CAT scans and surgery plans. Bad went to worse as we learned that Preston didn’t just break his jaw … he broke it in three places.
Surgery began and the wait was on… and on… and on.
The heart-distance between the operating room and the waiting room was a thousand miles. It killed me to not hold Preston’s hand while his jaw was reconstructed for seven and a half hours.
In the wee hours of morning, surgery was completed. When Preston was wheeled to his room, Brad and I rushed to his side, and though he was heavily sedated, I reached for his hand to assure him he wasn’t alone.
“Preston, I’m right here! I’m right beside you, buddy. We love you and are with you.”
His eyes flickered open for a split second as if to let us know that he heard our love. Then he drifted back into post-surgical sleep.
Several times an hour the nurses came in to check his vitals. I hadn’t slept in nearly a day and was thoroughly exhausted, but each time a nurse entered the room I leapt to Preston’s side and whispered, “I’m right here, Preston! I’m right here. You’re not alone.”
After the third or fourth time of reassuring Preston of my presence, I laid back down and whispered to God through oceans of tears, “Lord, please heal my son! Please heal him.” And in the still of the night, in the quietness of my heart, my soul sensed Him whispering right back to me, “I’m right here, Gwen. I’m right here. For him. For you. You’re not alone.”
My soul heard the voice of Peace speak His presence tenderly to my pain. He heard me. He knew of Preston’s plight. He knew I needed a word of encouragement. Not an audible word – just a heart whisper. He was right by my side. I knew it as I remembered His Word:
“Fear not … I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:1-2).
There are times when our heart-burdens cry so loudly that we struggle to hear the voice of Peace. There are times we struggle to remember and recognize the unsearchable, inescapable presence of God. Times when prayers seem to go unanswered, and broken situations seem unfixable and painful. Are you there now?
We all know ache.
We can’t get through this life without knowing ache. Thankfully, we’re also invited to know the Healer, and the holy Healer knows all about your heavy heart burdens.
The Bible says that not a tear falls that isn’t known to the Lord. (Psalm 56:8)
Hear His whisper now. Whispers from His Word … from His heart: I will never leave you or forsake you. I know your name and have engraved it on the palm of My hand. I hold your tears in a bottle and ache with you. My grace is sufficient, and I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. I’m right here (Deuteronomy 31:6, Isaiah 49:16, Psalm 139, Psalm 56:8, 2 Corinthians 12:9, John 14:27, John 16:33).
Dear Lord, Thank You for always being with me and for hearing my prayers. Please help me to know deeper levels of peace today as I soak in the wonder of your compassion and constant presence.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
How would your worries look different if you took God at His word and allowed His presence to inform your fears today?
Read Isaiah 43:1-3,5a. Identify the promises found in this passage. Do you believe that this is the heart of God for all His children, including you? If so, leave a comment and say, “I do!”
More from the Girlfriends
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I do! With the the help of God, I will let Him inform my fears, so I won’t be afraid. He will give me the peace I need and crave. Amen!
Yes, Rebecca. You can trust HIM and rest in HIS presence. For sure.
Thank you for Psalms 58:6.
Blessings to you and your ministry.
Love it. Thanks for responding!
When I tell you, you spoke to my soul with this one. I’m in my 2nd semester of nursing school and I have never been through anything so intense. I didn’t do as well ad I would have liked on my 1st exam, but God. Ive started to fast I started to pray but when I say the devil came to me like he did Jesus in the Jadean desert. He told me to give up and that I could retake my current course. And I listened I was beginning to become defeated, but thank you father God for this word from you Gwen. I asked you to pray for me my sister during boards for EMT school and now I ask again for your prayers on this journey 🙏. Thanks in advance.❤
Oh, Krystal… all glory to GOD! He knows every last detail and truly is with you and your family through it all. Thanks for sharing your story. You CAN do it!! Keep moving forward in HIS strength and with HIS grace. Praying for you now!
Bless you Girlfriends in God women of ministry! ♥️🙏🏻♥️🙏🏻♥️
Love it. Thanks for doing life with us, Shelly.
I absolutely do! I praise Him for his promises!
Yes, Cathy! We sure do praise Him for His promises!! 100%!
Blessings to you,
I will simply say, “Thank you.” There is a whole lot behind those two words and I am grateful for this devotional and its message this morning.
LOVE that you took time to respond, Ms. Max. I feel the weight of your thanks and reflect all glory toward JESUS. Praying for you now, friend.
I Do. I Do. I Do. Thank you for this wonderful message.
Yes. Yes. Yes! 🙂 Glory to GOD! Thanks for doing life with us, Terry.
My mom got cancer a few years ago and, while my sister and father were freaking out, my mom and I had complete peace descend on us from the beginning. She is 3 years cancer free now! Praise God! So, I 100% do!
Yes, Kami! I know that Peace and celebrate it with you, friend. Thanks for sharing this.
I do! Gwen, may God continue to bless you and your ministry!
Thank you, Edith! Blessings right back to you, friend.
I DO! (God’s promise of Victory!) “there’s another in the fire” Praise Jesus!
Thanks, Gwen for this spiritual boost!
Carol, LOVE that song! He sure is in it all with us!
Love it! Thanks for doing life with us!
I most assuredly DO! Life is hitting hard right now, BUT, I rest in the peace that comes from our most loving FATHER.
Bless you for blessing so many.
I have been going through a lot. I keep praying and asking for GOD to deliver as well as providing me with Grace and Mercy and Strength. I feel relieved but then I start to feel overwhelmed again. I will let God inform my fears and guide me on this journey. Please pray for me and my Family to get through these rough times-as I am for sure GOD will.
Thank you for your Devotions as they always come in handy and RIGHT ON TIME -EVERYTIME!
I Do! Thank You for this devotional today. I had an experience with God that was similar – not in circumstance but in experiencing His peace. I was 17 years old, laying in my bed just gripped in fear – complete darkness in the room, and evil darkness all around me. I stayed very still, hands gripped, thinking I wouldn’t be noticed, feeling like I could hide, breathing short, little breaths…terrified. On my side, one ear was on the pillow, but I heard the clear whisper in both ears, “I’m here”
Immediately, I thought, “ok”, and I will always remember the peace I felt that began at my head and ran all the way to my feet, and I fell asleep. I am in awe of God and so thankful that He is with us in our earthly circumstances and completely comforts us. The still small voice of our LORD
Thank you Gwen for reminding me that God is with us as we go through trials. I have been dealing with a wrongful termination lawsuit for the last couple of years and the devil has been very busy making me feel defeated and suggested I give up. But THANK GOD for GIG, you ladies have kept me from giving up by reminding me God is right there with me. Please pray for me as I continue my journey.
Thank you, Gwen! Your writing led me to shut my door, turn on a worship song called “Peace” by We The Kingdom, and just sing/wait on Jesus. I eventually saw a picture in my mind of Him come to my side, give me a side hug, and kiss me on the top of my head like a father. Thanks for using your gift of writing. 🙂