I was born into a pastoral family that focused on church planting, which meant that we moved often, from Prince Edward Island to Alberta and a few stops in between. I never swayed too far from Christ throughout my life. Even though I had doubts and did not always make the wisest choices, I felt God’s presence throughout my faith journey. When I was 16 years old, I was at a youth worship service and clearly remember the song “Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone” being played incredibly loud. During that song, I had an encounter with God when He asked me to submit fully to Him, and I finally did. Despite the struggles of life that would come my way, I kept feeling His presence.
Years later, I started vocational ministry around the same time that my husband and I experienced our first real “bump” as a young couple. I was pregnant with our first child and we were incredibly excited. Two days after we found out I was pregnant, I was rushed to the hospital and informed that we were losing the child.
Heartbreak, anger, sadness, and a thousand more emotions were bubbling up, but we kept our eyes on Jesus. During this trial, I kept feeling His presence.
On the following Sunday, I had the assurance that God had brought healing to our child. My doctor at the time, who was a strong believer, explained that the baby was fine at our very next appointment. He leaned in and through teary eyes whispered to me, “We know how!”
A few weeks later, while carrying a box of baby items on a typical Canadian winter day, I slipped on a small section of ice and had to be rushed to the hospital. I was now four months pregnant, so surgery and other medical intervention became complicated. But again, I felt God’s presence. I remember laying there in the hospital bed as the doctor asked my family to leave the room because he had to set my foot without pain meds. I remember the peace I felt in that moment. I fell into a deep sleep and did not remember anything the doctor did. God’s presence held me. Despite the bumps along the way, I ended up giving birth to a beautiful and healthy daughter. His presence was there.
I could go on about situations in my life that seemed hopeless from a worldly perspective, but let me tell you this: He is Present. He is with you, and He will not forsake you. When life is heavy, when you are experiencing loss—He is with you. “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14).
Keely Brower is family life pastor at Family Life Church of the Nazarene in Airdrie, Alberta, Canada.