Recognizing the Presence of God

As I watched our child being carried away in an ambulance late one Tuesday night, I remembered the text. It was sent to me by a friend from my section and said something along the lines of, “I don’t know what your family is going through right now, but God put you on my heart this evening and I stopped to pray for you.”

When I read it several hours earlier, I had no idea that my family would be in crisis a little while later. It was in the moment I was sitting on our stairwell sobbing that I became keenly aware of how God had gone before us that night. Through a simple text, He reminded me that we were not alone in this—that even when we didn’t know we needed to be on our knees in prayer, He was prompting others to pray on our behalf.

I have my Thursday morning ladies class, Sacred Journey, to thank for teaching me to recognize the presence of God in these hard places that I have found myself in recently. Last fall, we gathered to learn, fellowship, pray, and discern together as we read through a book by Larry Warner titled God’s Will and Living Jesus: Christian Discernment as a Way of Life

Warner describes Christian discernment as “the ability to recognize the communications of God in expected and unexpected places.” Because of our gifted teachers and the amazing small group of women I sat with each week, I was constantly encouraged to be aware of God’s presence in all of it. 

These dear women point me to Jesus over and over again. They remind me to cling to Him and that He is so very near.

Things with our daughter are still very up and down. I have no idea when the crisis will end … or if it will ever end. But what I DO know is that if I’m listening for His voice, I will hear it. He is near, and that fills me with an unworldly joy.

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. 

—Zephaniah 3:17


Written by Erin Lonard, a Willow Creek attender, volunteer, and member of women's daytime classes.

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