Have you had challenging times in your life where you just needed the assurance that God was with you? 

 

I went through something where I wanted to confidently know that God saw me and cared about me.  And you know what, He met me in a very personal way that led to what I now call “Tracking God”. 

It all started the day before Thanksgiving …

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My brother, Doug, arrived at my house, and this was the first time seeing him since our dad’s funeral. Doug kept sighing deeply every few minutes, generating an overall melancholy mood. So much had changed, and we were both trying to find the strength to accept the changes. Doug’s way: deep sighs. My way: keep busy, keep moving.

Our dad had been gone for a little over a month, and I had spent a lot of time reflecting on the season of grief we’d been walking through. I found myself telling people how much “God has been with us through it all!”  At one point I stopped and thought:

  • Is that true?
  • Have there really been miracles in our hard journey?
  • Is this a Christian cliche’, or have I actually seen God in all of it?

I’d been reading in Genesis where a woman named Hagar is desperate, running away from the hardships of her life. The angel of the Lord finds her near a spring in the desert (Genesis 16:7) and after a powerful exchange of blessing and hope, Hagar replies with these words:

“YOU are the God who sees me … I have now seen the One who sees me.”

 

Pondering over Hagar’s words, I wondered:

  • I KNOW God sees me… saw me… through the last months of life with my dad. But can I honestly say to God, “I see YOU?”
  • Can I chronicle this journey of faith as a way of recognizing the Lords presence with me?
  • Can I identify the “springs in the wilderness” — the refreshing places in time of loss and sadness?

 

I began to jot down my thoughts, focusing on the last five days of my dad’s life and the few days leading up to his memorial service. I made note of anything that came to mind as a memory of God’s Presence with me during that time.

I came up with 33 SPECIFIC ways I could see God was personally with me.

 

33 ways of ME telling God … “I see YOU!”

“I see YOU, Jesus, in the midst of the difficulties of life!”

 

One of the first things I wrote down: the long stretches of time I spent with my brother. Doug was able to be in town for nine full days. We hadn’t spent that much time together in decades!

Another thing I chronicled: On the last day of my dad’s life, my 7th grade daughter Olivia was going to science camp. I was supposed to drop her off at school and then return home to pack a suitcase to stay at Dad’s the rest of the week. But after waving good-bye to Olivia that morning, I felt this urgency to just get to my dad’s house and figure out how to get my stuff later.

I arrived at 9:30 AM and was shocked to see how close he was to leaving this world.

At Dad’s bedside, Doug and I chatted for a few moments. Then Doug stood up to go to the kitchen for a drink: but before he even took one step, Dad’s breathing changed.

We stood on either side of his bed, just the two of us, as he took his last breath. As hard as that was, I was SO grateful to be there … with my brother.

That’s just two of the entries I have recorded. As I sat with my journal open, asking God to show me how He had been with me, 33 ways came to mind in a matter of minutes.

 

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Your evidence of God’s presence may not look like mine.

But I encourage you to notice how God is with you in the midst of your most painful trials.

Focus on what Jesus has done for you.

Ask him to show you.

 

Track the journey … and let God surprise you with his presence.

 

I’m sure my brother will have more times of sighing deeply, and I’ll have times of bustling about to keep my thoughts from overtaking me. But… in the midst of it all, there will definitely be moments of me whispering up to God, “I KNOW you see me, and, guess what… I want to tell you, God… I see YOU.”