The Gift of God’s Presence
By Jennifer Slattery
“Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.” Psalm 63:3
If God’s favor meant great health and success, I’d missed it. But if it meant discovering my Father’s heart and growing closer to Him, then even as I lay in bed, sick and fatigued, I rested squarely in His hands.
Sometimes it takes a crisis to grab hold of what really matters. In 2011, after a lifetime of strength and athleticism, an illness left me grasping for answers.
If I could no longer run, who was I?
If I couldn’t push through this physical obstacle, was I still a woman of strength?
Why would God allow this? I’d spent years writing and speaking for Him, but now I was reduced to a tired, malnourished woman who often couldn’t make it to the bathroom on time let alone serve outside the home.
I was failing. I wasn’t tending to my family and hadn’t touched my keyboard in months.
That was a year I will always remember—the time when, each morning as I read my Bible, God drew me to Himself. There’s nothing so precious quite like being held by the One who knows and loves you most.
In those moments, I experienced joy. Not the momentary emotional elation our world offers, but the deep, unyielding assurance of knowing and being known by God.
If favor is found in what I can do or the wealth I attain, if it’s found in prestige and accolades, I’ve failed. And I’ll gladly fail again, to gain something much more enduring and fulfilling—time with Christ.
That’s the greatest gift Christ died to give us—Immanuel, God with us. He’s always there, faithfully reaching, patiently loving. But sometimes He needs to help us see that, rest in that. Though I’d never choose chronic illness, sometimes God reveals Himself through our pain—a pain with the sweetest of dividends.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is the author of eight contemporary novels, and helped write Wholly Loved’s Bible study based on the life of Sarai (Gen. 12-23) titled Becoming His Princess. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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