A couple of weeks ago the assembly in our contemporary service sang “Hold Us Together” by Christian singer-songwriter Matt Maher. As the voice of the talented member leading worship rose in emphasis, the voices of the congregation followed. And the words reverberated in the space: “And love will hold us together. Make us a shelter to weather the storm. And I’ll be my brother’s keeper. So the whole world will know that we’re not alone.”

We are not alone. In our walk of faith each of us will go through difficult times, tumultuous storms. But even the worst of storms do not last forever. It is said that sometimes God calms the storm … and sometimes God calms the child as the storm rages all around. But in either case, God is with that child. God is with you.

We read about that promise of God’s abiding presence throughout Scripture. It is found in the Psalms, the Proverbs, in the rest of the Old Testament and, of course, in the New Testament.

  • "I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." — Joshua 1:9
  • "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." — Isaiah 43:1-2
  • "And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." — Matthew 28:20

What we can’t miss in the promise is that it isn’t made just to us as individuals — to me or you personally — but to all of God’s children universally. And in that way we are called to be our brother’s keeper, to be the love of God to someone who is struggling.

Many people wonder if God is real, if he is truly with us in a world of hate, hunger and despair. Why would a loving, present God allow that, they ask? Because God sent you. And me. Yes, God promised that God’s presence and love is always near. Yet it’s his love through us that holds us together.

McNeal is associate pastor for member care and connections at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington. Contact her at christine@stjohnsbloomington.org.

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