“The Lord our God protected us along all the way that we went.”  Joshua 24:12

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:20

I read recently that the Doomsday Clock has been moved ahead to 90 seconds before midnight, the end of the world as we know it.  Nuclear threats, climate change, pandemics.  Where is our help, our courage, our confidence?  

I was taught to pray since as long as I can remember.  I confess much of my early praying was recited rather than prayed.  I was thinking about potatoes, not “our guest”.  We ate, finally.   I didn’t really wonder what “if I should die before I wake … my soul to take”.  I laid down to sleep feeling safe and protected in a bedroom with two older sisters, older brothers just down the hall.  I heard the stories of Jonah and Daniel, the daughter of Jairus and Lazarus.  What was that to me, really?  I was but a child and well taken care.  Then I grew older and began to understand those prayers were deeper than canned words.  

We acknowledge our mortality, but we don’t know the circumstances …  when, where or how. The love of siblings will not change this.  Disciples and apostles walked into danger and death.  They were not regurgitated from whales, saved from lions, or raised from the dead.  They suffered and died; so did Jesus.  They did not grow old; nor did Jesus.  Even Jesus, son of man, felt forsaken.   

Jesus’ parting words did not guarantee safety and physical comfort but promised to be with [us] always, to the end of ages …… at our tables, when we lie down, rise up, beside, above, in front, behind us … a “presence” that passes understanding.    

“Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, and your right hand will hold me fast.”  (Psalm 139:7-10)  Amen  

Verla Olson