Tell me why you’re crying, my son.
I know you’re frightened like everyone.
Is it the thunder in the distance you fear?
Will it help if I stay very near?
I am here.
I wept today as I listened to this Peter, Paul and Mary song. It depicts a tender moment where a father reassures his son but not by taking away the storm or solving his problem. Instead, he uses three simple words: “I am here.” To our finite human minds, it doesn’t seem logical that a father’s presence makes things better – and yet we know it to be true. The very best kind of friends don’t outsmart or solve our problems and heartaches; instead, they show up. They are there beside us, safe and steady, to help us back onto our feet.
Then in the song, the chorus swells, suddenly full of voices:
And if you take my hand, my son,
All will be well when the day is done…
And I think of the many times the Lord tells us this very truth!
Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me. ~ Psalm 139:7-10
God doesn’t always (or even often!) take away our hardships, but He does grant us something very precious – His presence! He sits with us in the hardest times of our lives, as well as the good, jubilant, and mundane times too. He holds our hands and he tells us “all will be well” – maybe not this moment or even this lifetime. He grants strength through that hardship – that special strength found in knowing we are not alone; in fact, we are with one who is intimately familiar with suffering, whose heart breaks with ours and who pours his own compassion and healing over us. We are with one who has proven his great love for us, by giving his very life and then rising from death.
And he will stay with us every day until this life is done and we wake up to endless day.