Ministry of Presence

Ministry of Presence
 Mama & me, 2009
Last week I spent the night in the hospital with my mama following her surgery. It was a quiet night and we enjoyed the extra time together. Mama said more than once, “I’m glad you’re here with me.” I wasn’t doing anything really. The nurses and staff were quite competent and we had no reason to fear. I was simply there to spend time with my mama. Her comments reminded of a phrase I’d heard early in life. It may have been from my oldest sister or from some early ministry mentors. Either way, it still applies today. When a person quietly stayed with someone as a way to comfort, encourage, and bolster confidence, we called it “ministry of presence.” Has a friend or family member ever done that for you? This “ministry of presence” can really make a difference and it’s something anyone can do. In the morning, Mom and I swapped favorite Psalms, reading them aloud from the Gideon Bible in the room. Mother chose Psalm 71. I love this bit and wanted to share it with you. It tells how God is always with us, no matter how young or old we are (much like that “ministry of presence”). More than that, He teaches us, equips, and enables us to share Him with those younger than us.
“Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, And to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, Do not forsake me, O God, Till I declare your power to the next generation, Your might to all who are to come.” Psalm 71:17-18 (NIV)
I pray that you and I, your family and mine all remember that God loves us and is always with us, no matter what. He’s in the hospital, the cemetery, at school, work, and home, and even in the midst of the worst times of our lives (Psalm 23). He has promised to never leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8; Hebrews 13:5). Praise the Lord!
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