“And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There.” (Ez. 48:35b, ESV)
At first I don’t realize I’m dreaming. I place my hand on the panorama glass of the hotel room, looking at the vast expanse around me. Large towers, a body of water, smog so thick I couldn’t see tops of buildings. No green, no trees. Where am I? I began to feel tingling in the palms of my hands. I look around the sparse room and see one suitcase on a Queen bed. All of my clothes.
It’s the moment I realize I am completely alone.
Panic sets in. I can feel it consuming all of my senses. My breathing is shallow; my head is spinning as I continue to stare outside the window in a foreign country. I have no idea how I got here and no idea what I am doing. I felt the overwhelming longing to go home. I began to talk to myself: You are not alone, not by yourself. You have the Lord. It’s going to be okay. You will just have to take one step at a time. The panic did not ease, but I felt those words of truth were speaking to my aching, fearful heart.
I woke up in a startle.
A few weeks later, I found myself at the hospital with my mom. She’d been given a terrifying, terminal diagnosis and we were in an environment completely unfamiliar to us. The unsettling sense of anxiety formed a ball in my stomach most hours of the day.
One afternoon she’d been told she needed a procedure that did not come without significant risks. As I listened to the medical staff talk to her behind me, I felt exasperated. I turned and faced the window, placing my hand on the glass. Everything about this place and our situation was foreign. Overwhelming. Panic was rearing its ugly head much too often in both of us. But we were all each other had.
I stopped cold as I looked out over the bustling city with it’s high rise buildings and congested traffic.
This was like my dream.
We had gotten wrapped up in thinking it was just us. We had Jesus; the most powerful, storm-stopping, water-parting, resurrected Jesus right there in the room with us.
Before my mom was taken by stretcher to her procedure, I shared with her, “There’s nothing I can say to reassure you that everything will be fine. But I know this: you have the Lord and that’s all any of us need. At the end of the day, there will be moments that we all have in our lives where we have to face down the enemy that lies and tells us we have been abandoned in moments of great fear. We may not see God, but He is there and He is in control. It comes down to trusting Him to take care of you.”
I placed my hand on my chest and really felt the truth of the words hit me. “And trusting Him to take care of me too.”
Later, I recognized that in my moments of fear and panic, I lean on what I feel in that moment: the foreignness of a situation, the feeling of isolation, the intensity of anxiety and fear, and that overwhelming longing to just go home.
I realized I wanted to experience God more than I experienced these moments.
I began to study the names of God and came across this verse in Ezekiel. As I unpacked the meaning, I found His name as “Jehovah Shammah, The Lord Is There.” Jehovah can be translated as “The Existing One” and Shammah’s Hebrew derivation sham, means “there,” which is symbolic for the earthly Jerusalem. This name is only mentioned in Ezekiel and literally means that the Lord has not abandoned Jerusalem, instead, promising it will be restored.
Oh, those words were such a truth to my soul. My Jehvoah Shammah will always be there, in every situation, every storm, every fear. He’s Everlasting and He promises not to abandon me.
He promises one day, all will be restored.
Dear Father, help me to live this truth daily in my life, especially in trials when they cloud your promises for me. Thank you for your grace and for your truth that permeates every part of my life. Thank you for the promise in your word that you are before all things and that in you, all things hold together. Guide me to look to you instead of circumstances. Amen.
Photo by tian kuan