Scripture Reading: Luke 24:29
In 1847, Henry Francis Lyte while stricken by sickness (tuberculosis) and the uncertainty of the future, wrote: “Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord with me abide; when other helpers fail, and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O’ abide with me….” As the darkness of sickness beclouded his life, he did not become hopeless and faithless; rather he trustfully said ‘abide with me’. He beckoned on the Lord to stay with him, his sole desire as expressed in the hymn is that Jesus should be his companion especially as darkness of sickness deepens, as conditions go from bad to worse, as the light of health disappears and fast fall the eventide of sorrow, as the night of fear and uncertainty envelops him. One phrase he kept repeating in each of the verses was; “Abide with me” (stay with me Lord). The key object of our reflection today is ‘the abiding presence of God’ due to the night moments of our lives. The night moments of our lives are moments of difficulties, anxieties, bitterness, sorrows, pains, persecutions, disappointments, hopelessness, sickness, fears and uncertainties. The night moments are those times when your good deeds brought you persecution and sorrows. When you went to bed sound and healthy but woke up in the hospital and since then your health condition has become a catalogue of miseries; when your pregnancy history is marred by miscarriages and unfruitfulness; when your faith is weakened as a result of scandals and disappointments. Indeed the night moments are terrifying and undesirable yet sometimes we experience them.
Dear friend in Christ, the night moment is not the time to cry fearfully and hopelessly, rather it is an opportunity to call on the Lord, it is a time to pray, a time to fast, a time to seek the Lord. When we seek the Lord, the scripture assures us in Jeremiah 29:14; “I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” In Matthew 8:24-26, “A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm.” This was a night moment for the disciples. When the windstorm threatened to end their lives, they called on the Lord, “Lord save us, we are perishing” because they had Jesus in their boat.
Moses understood the importance of ‘the abiding presence of God’ such that he had to tell God in Exodus 33:15, “If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here.” Dear friend in Christ, more than ever before, we need to beckon on the Lord to come and stay with us before the night approaches. For the abiding presence of God is the source of our courage, healing, peace and power to overcome our night moments victoriously. When the abiding presence of God is with us, the windstorm of the problems of life will not destroy us, we are certain that the sicknesses, poverty, misfortunes, pains and scandals that threaten us shall only lead to the glory of God in our lives. Halleluyah.
- Begin your prayer with this song; ‘Come walk with me, I cannot walk alone; Jesus walk with me , I cannot walk alone; the road is narrow and full of many dangers; come walk with, I cannot walk alone.’
- Pray, Lord, do not cast me away from your presence, (Psalm 51:11).
- Invite Jesus into your life and the life of your family.
- Pray with Psalm 91 (meditatively).
- Prayerfully declare Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever and ever” – Amen
- If you are going through scandal or evil and malicious accusations, pray with Psalm 64:1 -10 very seriously.
Exercise: Take the Prayer of St. Pio in section A (Twice today)
Memory Verse: 1 Chronicles 16:27