December 10, 2006

The Assurance of Immanuel

Matthew 1:18-25

"They will call him Immanuel"--which means "God with us." Matthew 1:23


One of our daughters woke me in the middle of the night and said, "Dad, I had a bad dream, and now I can't sleep." After I assured her that her mother and I were in the next room and that Jesus was watching over her, she crawled back into bed and fell asleep. All it took was that simple assurance.

As adults, we might not have the same bad dreams that children have, but there are times when we also can have trouble sleeping. Sometimes in the night I have anxious thoughts that keep me awake. I toss and turn and worry. Maybe you have nights like that too.

So many things can keep us awake--fears and anxieties that seem to grab hold of our minds and won't let go. We may have anxieties about our health, our safety, our security, our relationships, our children, our jobs, our finances, our future. Sometimes our fears are even realized, and our grief and heartaches keep us awake. We may long for a loved one who is no longer with us, and there may be tears of loneliness that keep us from sleeping.

In times like those, remember the name Immanuel--which means "God with us." In the dark of night when your spirit is in turmoil and sleep won't come, remember that Jesus is there with you. As a child of God, you can rest and sleep in that simple assurance.

Dear Lord, you are always with us--in the brightest day and in the darkest night. Thank you that even in the turmoil of our lives we can know you are with us. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Joel Sheeres

Rev. Joel Sheeres is the pastor at First Christian Reformed Church in Crown Point, Indiana. He and his wife, Christine, have three children. Pastor Sheeres has previously served at Faith Christian Reformed Church in Elmhurst, Illinois.

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