Day 26

Eternity in God’s Presence

from the The Presence of God reading plan


John 10:1-30, John 14:1-3, Luke 23:32-43, Romans 6:23, Romans 14:8, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

BY Patti Sauls

In Christ, our place in God’s presence is secure. We cannot be separated from His love.

“Hey, Patti! So glad you’re here.”

I’ll never forget how Sue, my high school ministry leader, greeted me the first time we met. Even though I had heard a lot about her from my friends, I still felt shy as we walked up her driveway and swung open the back door without even knocking. My friends made themselves right at home, searching Sue’s refrigerator for soda that she always kept well stocked, and plopping down on her kitchen stools. In walked Sue, laughing at our unannounced arrival and welcoming us all. Before I could awkwardly introduce myself, she greeted me by name.

Hearing Sue call me by name spoke to my longing to be known and stirred my hope for belonging. It meant the world to my insecure, 15-year-old self, and it means the world to me now. Little did I know that we would spend hours together, that she would share her life stories with me, and that she would explain the meaning of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection to me. Little did I know that Sue and I would become friends for life.

Hearing Jesus describe Himself as the “good shepherd” also stirs my hope for belonging. His shepherd metaphor stops me in my hustling tracks and tugs at my solitary heart. “I am the good shepherd,” Jesus says. “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). This shepherd doesn’t merely offer the bare minimum; He offers His life. He is ready and willing to die in order to protect His sheep from attack. Jesus also says that the good shepherd “calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (v.3). He doesn’t casually regard the flock as a random collection of animals. He leads them out to pasture where He satisfies their hunger and thirst. Not only that, but He knows each one intimately, and He calls them by name.

Do we hear Jesus’s voice? Do we hear His promises? Jesus promises the ultimate belonging: to be fully known and fully loved by Him forever. He says to every one of His followers, “I see you. I know you intimately. I know your deepest hunger and thirst. I love you. I will provide for you and protect you, even if it means laying down my life.” And, it did—it cost Him everything—Jesus died to divinely and decisively deal with the sin that separates us from God. He died once and for all so that we can be united with Him forever.

Even though it is hard for us to imagine life without end, this is His promise: “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28). Jesus protects His flock and seals the deal for those who hear Him and follow. “Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Romans 14:8). He calls each by name to be with Him and to become friends for life—both now and for eternity.

Post Comments (37)

37 thoughts on "Eternity in God’s Presence"

  1. Karen Anne Servidad says:

    This moved me

  2. Brandy Deruso says:

    Lord i thank you always!

  3. Stacy Zaback says:

    I just wanted to share a special story with you about how this study affects my sister in law/best friend who has had terminal cancer for the last 4 years. Just over a month ago her cancer progressed and I invited her to do a She Reads Truth study with me. She chose this one, “The Presence of God”. We did the devo everyday and then came together on Wednesday mornings to discuss it. We had beautiful conversation that showed me her intimate relationship with the Lord and conversation that shared her feelings on death and leaving her husband and two young boys behind. She seemed to be processing through how difficult that would be very well and was becoming very alive in Christ. It was apparent that she was passionate about everything she was learning about the presence of the Lord.

    On Tuesday of last week (Nov 17) we were on the second to last devo when she wrote a caring bridge entry describing how God has a place for her in heaven. She didn’t finish her entry and died that evening. It was an unexpected death considering her mental state at the time, an enormous loss to all of us here. But I know that the Lord used this study to prepare her for leaving. In hindsight I think we all can see how she seemed to almost know it was happening. She knew it was closer than any of us did.

    I came back today to read the last devo and how fitting it is to remind me again that she belongs to the Lord even after death. I just want to say thank you for this study that played a wonderfully huge role in her life and mine. I will cherish those memories of studying God’s word with her forever.

  4. Alicia McCann says:

    Than you Jesus that you know me by name, that you know me intimately. Help me to always hear your voice and follow it

  5. Chris Swan says:

    Enjoyed this week’s podcast. I’m previewing a new Shelly Miller book Searching for Certatinity. A quote that fits with our study: “Will you focus on what you have right in front of you—- God’s Presence “— or will you trust in your own humanity to navigate the unknowns of your wilderness journey”?

    1. Sara P says:

      This quote is so humbling and something I needed to hear today…thank you!

  6. niki mattinson says:

    I have been struggling, trying desperately by myself to restore hope, and I realize now that I am the Lord’s and through Him everything is possible. I come to Christ trading loneliness for hope. Christ has been calling me always, He never left my side. I hear Him now and for always. Prayers for all.

  7. Churchmouse says:

    Julia’s surgery is done and she is recovering in private room with her parents at her side. Surgeon is very pleased even though not all of the malformation could be removed as it would have too greatly affected her appearance. The Dr is optimistic that Julia will be able to go home later this evening. She’s already awake intermittently and was able to have a slushie. She will be on soft foods through the weekend. Please continue prayers for a steady recovery. We’re so grateful for you all and especially for her seven classmates who prayed with her yesterday. How special to have children bow their heads in intercession! Blessings upon blessings.

    1. Claire B says:

      Thankful

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