As I entered our youth’s worship room last night, I could feel the solemnity of the day lingering overhead. The tragedy of the death of one of our own was weighing heavy on the entire group. Trey, our youth leader was preparing for the evening, readying our worship leader and recruiting young people to read Scriptures throughout the service. There were only a few moments remaining before it was time to begin and those of us who were already in the worship room gathered to pray. We asked for God to join us, to send His Comforter to our hurting young people and the family that lost their loved one, to open hearts and to change lives. God is faithful to keep His promises. As we prayed, His presence was undeniable.
After our prayer, Trey left the room to gather the group, leaving behind the worship leader strumming quietly on his guitar. I sat in the darkness listening to the sweet serenade of the Spirit and asking God to give me strength and wisdom to counsel our young people in their time of grief. Again, God is faithful to keep His promises. In those few minutes before the service began, the boys who were to read the Scriptures began practicing their reading. Each one was reading a separate passage of comfort from God’s Word and each, without regard to the other, was reading aloud in the darkness while a soft melody was playing. God’s Word began to permeate the room filling it with comfort and peace. And as each word was spoken, I could feel the Holy Spirit rushing into that place of worship.
There are many times in my life when I have felt God’s presence but there are few times, if any, that I have ever caught a glimpse of Him. Last night, God was there. I could feel Him next to me. I could hear Him in the music. I could taste Him in the Bread of Life being spoken. And as each young person entered that worship room, I could almost see Him as He took their hands, guided them to their appointed places and then wrapped His loving arms of comfort around each one.
Sitting in His presence, we worshiped our Heavenly Father with our songs, our prayers and our tears. And in that place, I found comfort in knowing that God, who is near to the brokenhearted, was near to the family of young Madison. As He was holding each one of us in that youth room, He was holding that mother and father who were aching for their daughter. And though that family may find it difficult to see God during this time, I know that He is with them. He is shining through the faces of their church family. He is embracing with the arms of the friends who surround them everyday and soon, He will reveal Himself in a peace that passes all understanding.
God has promised that He will walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death. He has promised to hear us when we cry out to Him. He has promised to comfort those who are hurting and to save those whose spirits are crushed. And, oh! My God is faithful to keep His promises.