Years ago, I got a phone call. My Nana was dying. The doctors had finally discovered that my mother’s mother was sicker than we knew. The cancer was everywhere. I hope that sometime I can tell everyone how beautiful and amazing and funny and talented and unique she was. Although we lived in different states, we were quite close.
Something I remember, though, was the strength of my younger cousin Domenick. When I arrived at the airport to see my Nana for the last time, he picked me up, drove me straight to the hospital, walked me to her room and stayed with me. As I traveled from the airport to my Nana’s hospital bed that day he would say, “I’m staying with you, cousin.” He was not going to let me go through this alone. The ministry of presence is difficult to put into words but it’s easy to feel.
On my trip to Cambodia, I was able to look my friends in the eyes and say, “I’m with you.” Maybe I couldn’t do anything to make their ministry more effective, help them with language learning or alleviate the challenges of living in a faraway place, but I could be with them.
We can’t always go places, but when we are able to both give and receive presence, that presence ministers to our hearts in a palpable way. It’s nice to know that we’re not alone.
In John’s gospel, Jesus talks a lot about the Holy Spirit. In fact, he says something pretty surprising. Jesus indicates to his disciples that his departure from them will be better than him staying with them. He says in John 16:7: “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper with not come to you. But, if I go, I will send him to you.”
So, Jesus is sitting with the disciples just a few hours before his crucifixion and he tells them that it is better for them that he leaves them. In essence, he’s saying that his presence is better through the Spirit than in the flesh. His presence is better felt, more powerful and even more effective spiritually in us than if he were physical with us.
Do I recognize this truth as I consider the Holy Spirit dwelling in me? Do I agree with Jesus that the presence of his Spirit in me is better than his physical presence? Am I even aware of his ministry of presence?
When I am comforted in times of trouble, it is the Comforter who is reminding me of the truth (John 14:26). Like my cousin that day, the Spirit is committed to walking with me in times of trouble and, frankly, he walks with me even beyond the times of trouble. He is not only with me, but he is in me (John 14:17). Fear and loneliness can overwhelm us sometimes, but the Spirit of Jesus is always present with us, ministering to us.
Posted: 7.23.2017 in Women’s Ministry Share: