How I Know God Is With Me

My niece Hannah and I, a few years after this story took place.

My niece Hannah and I, a few years after this story took place.

Several years ago I was flying from Fort Worth Texas to go home to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was a short flight and I was on a commuter plane. Upon landing, instead of pulling up to the terminal like the big jets, we were let out on the tarmac. I went up the stairs into the terminal and saw my family staring out the window looking for my plane, which they thought would pull all the way up to the terminal. (This was well before 9-11 when family and friends could greet you right at the gate.)

Since they were still looking out the window and did not know I was already there, I decided to play a joke on them. I found a newspaper and went to sit down beside them. I listened as Mom said, “Is that William’s plane landing now?” Dad replied, “No. That is an American Airlines plane. He is coming in on Delta.” My two-year old niece Hannah was the first to notice me. She was very bright because, instead of saying anything, she just smiled at me with a huge smile and twinkle in her little eyes, as though she understood the joke and was playing along too. She knew I was there, even though the grown-ups were clueless of my presence.

Since the rest of my family was not as observant as my two-year old niece, I put my paper down and turned to my sister sitting next to me. “Ma’am, will you please tell me what time it is?” She glanced at her watch and then glanced back at me in shock. “He’s here!” she exclaimed. The whole family was shocked to find that I was sitting with them while they were still expecting me to come. The other day when I mentioned this to my mother, she remembered how startling it was to find I was with them while they thought I was far off. For years now I have been using this experience as an illustration when preaching about the resurrection of Jesus. Mary stood at the tomb and in her grief was unaware of Jesus’ presence.

 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”  “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”). John 20:15-16 NLT

In her grief, Mary did not recognize the presence of Jesus, but He was there just the same. On that beautiful day Mary was not the only person not recognizing His presence and identity. Later in the same day Jesus is walking down a road that led to Emmaus. Luke fills us in.

As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them.  But God kept them from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”

They stopped short, sadness written across their faces.  Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”

“What things?” Jesus asked.

“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people.  But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him.  We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago. Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report.  They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said. 

Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:13-27

For years I have been using this passage when studying about the Scriptures, on how Jesus could have just opened their eyes and showed them his nail-scarred hands and said, “Look it’s me!” But He did not do this. Instead of going by sight, He wanted them to go by the Scriptures. So instead of opening their physical eyes it was their spiritual eyes and their hearts that He opened. Seeing will never become believing, until you can finally see it with your heart and not just your eyes. So today, Jesus does not want us putting our faith in feelings or in signs and wonders. He wants us to put our faith in the Scriptures. While listening to our associate pastor, Claudette Aleman, speak one Sabbath I realized there was even more, as she read:

“As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them.  But God kept them from recognizing him.”

Then she asked the question, “Have you ever gone through a hard time in your life, only to find that Jesus was with you, and you did not know it?”

I was reminded that, just like Mary, these two men were grieving, and Jesus came near and joined them, but they did not perceive that it was Jesus who was with them. Friend, you may be going through a hard time right now and wonder where God is. I promise you He is with you. I know this because the Scriptures, which Jesus saw as more valid than sight, say so.

Even when I walk   through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Psalms 23:4 NLT

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. Isaiah 43:2

And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20 NLT For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”Hebrews 13:5 NLT

Today we have Facebook, text messaging and even Skype to keep us close to each other, but even better than that is what Paul tells:

“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us.” Acts 17:27

Today when I go through a dark valley and don’t necessarily feel God’s presence, I just open the eyes of my heart, my child-like heart, and smile at God with a twinkle in the eyes of my child-like faith. He smiles back at me. The grown-up skeptics may be clueless of His presence. My little niece was not imagining things when she saw me, though no one else could. I know my child-like heart is not imagining things when it sees God. We smile at each other. I know He is near.

Share Button



How I Know God Is With Me — 13 Comments

  1. Well said William;You are right, My bible says He will never leave you or for sake you.And when we call on Him He will be there.That,s the power of prayer and Faith in Him . That remind me of a song we use to sing at church Jesus is on the main line . All you have to do is call Him up. Jesus Christ the same yesterday ,and today,and for ever.(Heb.13;8) I enjoyed your story.

  2. Well said Bill. We often go through needless physical, emotional and spiritual stresses when all we have to do is hand all our problems to him who promised to be with us always. All we have to do is believe. Thank you Bill.

  3. Praise the Lord William this Sapati Eve and for your heart-warming post. I pray for the Holy Spirit to prepare the hearts and minds of my family and loved ones, for Jesus 2nd-Coming, and in the meantime, today, right this moment, hold firmly His hand, through thick and thin of this life. He holds our hand, always, even when we think at times He doesn't. God bless

  4. Sometimes we fail to trust God for whom he is. God is a present help in the time of need so I think the reason why it seems to us he doesnt care is because we underestimate his powers so God demands us to totaly trust Him and He wil do the best for us.

  5. Thank you for reminding us that God is with us, because his words tells us and that settles it for me, praise God.

  6. Thank you so much. We have to be like a child to be the side of Jesus. Always I visit for sabath schcool children an adults. For me is my first source after my Bible. I just came to see de new misionary story for the 2nd quartely, and I just receive your testimony for to day, that it is exactly right for me now.Thank you again and God be in your ministry.

  7. Hi William,

    I love this post! The airport illustration is funny and excellent!
    Your bible verses remind me to not be anxious and worried which happens to me sometimes. Sometimes I do things without thinking things through and then there are unwanted consequences.
    Every day I see evidences of God's presence. Recently, I bought a new computer. It was too small. Then I bought another one and it had a problem. That made me investigate and I bought a different model that I am delighted with. If the second computer didn't have a problem, I may not have thought of considering another. God brings things to our attention in various ways. He is amazing how He makes His presence known each and every day.
    Great Pic of you and your niece. Thanks for the inspiring post!

  8. Beautiful experience Bro. William!! Like the men in the boat, during the storm, we try to keep ourselves afloat by our own wisdom..Jesus is just beside us ready to help, if only we could open our spiritual eyes!!!

  9. Your illustration is amazing. It is easy to forget how close God is to me especially when am going through a dark valley.
    This illustration will easily stick to my memory to remind me that during those dark hours, I can just wink at my redeemer and know he is there. If nothing at all, I can just whisper to tell Him about my condition at the moment. I love it!!! God bless you, Bill.


Please leave a comment long enough to say something significant and considerably shorter than the original post. First and last name required.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.