ODJ: Just Show Up

May 16, 2018 

READ: Matthew 1:18-23 

Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means “God is with us” (v.23).

In a previous ministry position, I was responsible for directing pastoral care at a church. My job was to remind people of God’s presence through my presence and prayers as well as to oversee those offering care to others. When someone was sick or dying, a family was going through a crisis or a newborn baby was brought home, I was there to offer care, as well as discover if and how our church family could help further.

In my work I was called to prayerfully enter many a home, hospital room, care facility and hospice wing. There I’d ask people if I could pray for them. If the situation allowed for it, when visiting men and women suffering from various forms of dementia, I might sing a song like “Jesus Loves Me” or “Jesus Loves the Little Children”, hoping their long-term memories would allow them to recall the truth-filled words. They often sang along!

Central to the good news of Jesus is that through Him God came to be with us (Matthew 1:23). Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can experience His Spirit living in us (Romans 8:11).

And in painful times, one of the most powerful ways we can experience this reality is through the loving presence of other believers in Jesus, sharing the Spirit’s love and compassion (Galatians 5:22).

I’ve often wished I could have healed the sick or provided greater financial assistance to those in need. But I learned that they and their families were just grateful I showed up. Presence is important.

Our presence is important to people at all stages of life. People simply want to know they’re seen (see Genesis 16:13), known and loved. There are a myriad of ways God can use your loving presence to remind them of His. Just show up.

—Marlena Graves

365-day plan: Psalm 103:1-22

Consider John 21:1-13. How did Jesus show loving care to the disciples? 
How can you be lovingly present to others? How can your presence reflect the presence of God to them?