The Blessing Is, He Is For You

I stood in a room full of people at the Roanoke Performing Arts Center, just three and a half days after Mom passed. It was something I hadn’t done in years, and it wasn’t something I had planned to do so fast.

Just minutes after Mom died, the Chaplain told me to go to church. That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I didn’t want to go. I wanted to understand why my mother was gone. I was confused and angry, and yet, I knew that was the right thing to do. I felt, and still do, the battle inside of me, between my Spirit and my flesh. As the days went on, and more people encouraged me to go, it got easier to consider.

Saturday arrived, as did my dad. The last time I saw him, I was with my mother. Now, it was just us. We had a wonderful talk, one that was already starting to mend our relationship.

Sunday morning came. I sat in bed and was finally able to post the news on Facebook. It was more for me than anything, a way that I could start to heal. It was real. It was, as they say, Facebook official.

I was going to go to church with Dad, but he was in such a deep sleep, that I didn’t want to wake him. With a heavy breath, I drove, alone. As I entered, I knew I had to see one specific person, and wondered if she was still there.

As people began to walk down the steps, the sea split. I saw her. She saw me. I was alright until she hugged me. She said all of the right things, and asked me all of the right questions. I knew I was supposed to be there this day.

On my way to my seat, I was greeted and hugged by someone else, the right someone else. I felt like I was supposed to be there.

The worship started. In a split second, I felt lost. In a room full of people, I felt alone. I felt like this time was for me, and God.

“I know You’re going to speak to me today,” I told him. I wasn’t specific about how and where in the day He was going to speak to me, I just knew something was going happen.

As the last song started, I looked up. A new female’s face graced the screen. I did a double take, then a triple. “That looks like Kari,” I said under my breath. The voice that arose was one I could immediately identify. It struck a familiar chord, the kind of chord that evokes chills, and an emotional response.

Tears gushed for the second time that day. I, holding nothing back, let them run their course. “Look Mom, it’s Kari!”

One of Mom’s favorite songs was, “Revelation Song,” sung by Kari Jobe. The sweetness of her voice held a soft power that mixed with the majestic picture the lyrics painted of our Lord. Jesus, your name is power!

And now, I was about to hear Kari do it again. But this time, my mother was not here on this earth to experience it with me.

“We’re going to sing a new song,” I heard them say. A new song they wrote not ten days ago.

“The Lord bless you,” they begin to sing. “And keep you. Make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord turn His face toward you, and give you peace.”

This is a prayer that Joseph Prince loves to pray over his church. Joseph Prince, the pastor that my mother introduced me to, the one that she wanted me to get up at five in the morning to listen to, even though I had to go to school. The one that she couldn’t stop buying DVDs of, and listening to podcasts to help her go to sleep. The one that made her excited to drive twenty-four hours to go to Texas to see him. The one that changed my life, and hers, forever.

And now, I stood in a room full of people, feeling isolated. Isolated from them, yet so close to Jesus.

It was the second part of the song, Kari’s part, that did the most beautiful damage. To hear that His favor is upon me, and a thousand generations, and my children, and their children. His presence goes before me, and behind me, and beside me, all around me, and within me. He is with me in the morning, and the evening, in my coming, and my going, in my weeping, and rejoicing. He is for me.

In my weeping, and rejoicing. He is with me. He is for me.

A memory played in my head as I listened to this declaration. My mother, laying in her hospital bed, crying as she watched a video of artists singing together. “All the songs I’m going to miss,” she said through her tears.

I cried harder. My mother was missing this song. If only she had stayed three and a half days longer. Feelings of the flesh came rushing to the surface of my brain. Guilt, like I could have done something to keep her alive. Guilt, like I didn’t know what that something was, and I should have.

He is with you. He is for you. May His presence go before you, and behind you, and beside you. All around you, and within you.

I came back to the present and let the prayer replace my guilt. In the morning, and the evening, in your coming, and your going, in your weeping, and rejoicing, He is for you.

Almost a month after first hearing this song, and hearing it almost every day since then, either on social media or in my head, I realized something.

Mom heard this song before I did. She was in Heaven, listening to Steven Furtick, Chris Brown, Cody Carnes, and Kari Jobe rehearse this in their house, in the studio, in the church. She knew what was coming before I did. She’s not going to miss anything. She gets to experience it before I do.

It didn’t feel like God was for me much in the beginning. I knew He was, but like Pastor Steven says, we see better in hindsight. I still can’t see much right now, but I know the farther I walk away from the pain, the closer I am to the purpose.

What I do see in hindsight though, is that Pastor Steven did what God told him to do, and it blessed people immensely. Who knew that, just two weeks after he chose to release that song to the congregation, that he would be closing the church because of a virus? Too bad devil, the song is already out in the atmosphere. The devil always plays catch up.

The Blessing has been a blessing. It is exactly what we need at this time. Jesus is for us, and before us, and behind us, and beside us. I know it may not look or feel like it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. He is, no matter what.

I pray that this song brings comfort to those who hear it, just as it has been a comfort to me.

Thank you Steven, Chris, Cody, and Kari.

May the Lord bless you, and keep you. May He make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you.

During this time, please remember Psalm 91:1, 3

(1) He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

(3) SURELY He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.

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