By Toni Ford
There are numerous Scriptures in the Bible stating, describing and explaining how, when and where God is with us. There is one particular Scripture I’d like to highlight this week.
Isaiah 7:14 says, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel, (which means ‘God is with us’).”
This Scripture is often used during the Christmas holiday season, which is one reason I wanted to highlight it. However, the main reason occurred earlier this week when a newsflash popped up on my phone regarding the death of a well-known dancer named Stephen Boss. I knew very little about him, but due to all the posts and news feeds, I read several articles about Stephen and his family.
Stephen had a beautiful family that often even participated in his dances on social media. According to the world’s standards, he was very successful with plenty of money and fame. He was nice looking, super talented and well known. Most of all, I was amazed at his gorgeous smile that was evident in every photo. However, even with all of those remarkable blessings that so many of us long for and work to attain all our lives, Stephen still struggled inwardly so much so that he decided that it was just too hard to continue living.
The following is a quote from someone I will keep anonymous who evidently relates closely with Stephen and what he could have been feeling.
“Because we never felt true hopelessness and complete despair, it is hard for some of us to believe. The night for us has never been so dark and so long. We have never been so desperate for peace and rest. Some understand that pain can get so unbearable that all you want is for it to stop. Some know what it feels like to drown in shame and experience insecurity that makes breathing hard. I believe that only together and never alone can we fight demons. Together, and never alone, can we conquer shame, hopelessness and fear. Together, and never alone, can we live in peace and experience joy and love. This season reminds us that we are never alone. Immanuel, God is with us.”
I‘m sure that we have all had someone close or perhaps even ourselves who experience this same struggle. First, I pray you never experience condemnation or shame if you or a family member has experienced depression or any other type of mental illness.
Second, I pray that you would never walk this battle alone. As the person above stated, together and never alone can we live in peace and experience joy and love. Talk to someone and let him or her help you. All of us, regardless of what our challenges are in life, should talk to at least one other person and never try and walk this life all alone.
Last and most important, there is a reason why Scripture tells us that Mary would give birth to a son and call him Immanuel, or “God is with us.” That is not only His name but His promise to us as to who He is, and that his character never changes. In that one simple name is depth that is beyond our comprehension … a mixture of majesty and intimacy that is unmatched. Our God is always with us, He loves us and wants to be there for us. Faith in God’s promises is ultimately the only way to find peace in the midst of trouble.
This Christmas, may you drink deeply of the truest gift you have ever received, which is God Himself. May we take time to pray for Stephen’s family and all those who might have lost a loved one in the same manner, or those you know who might be struggling in the same way that Stephen struggled. May you and your family know that God loves you so much that He will go to any length necessary to show you that He is Immanuel. God is with you!
If you would like continued prayer, feel free to email me at email@example.com. I would love to pray for you!