By Your Side

Thursday, September 14, 2017
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Love Of God"1 (Lyrics)

Psalm 16:11 – You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (ESV)

My sister-in-law and family recently had my children for a sleepover so that we could clear up the caravan on our return from our holiday. Whilst I was glad to have the time to mothball the caravan, I missed my children.

As a stay-at-home dad of 62 years of age and for the second time around, with two children of seven and nine, I value their presence with me. I love all my children, individually unique, and I miss them when they are not around. So, when they came into the house searching for daddy, we were all joyful. It made me think of how in the beginning, the relationship between God and His creation was originally good.

Genesis 3:8 – And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. (ESV)

Sadly, in the same manner as Adam and Eve, we have been found missing when God came to treasure us and commune with us, because, in our disobedience, we became distant from God's presence. The creation story shows that it was not meant to be this way.

Like many Christians, I have found that I have often underestimated, belittled, and sold short the grace and love of God, and have settled for less, because I valued my independence. It has taken me years to grasp more completely that God really does love me, that He will meet me at my point of need, and that He requires only a few moments of a sincere heart to receive. The good news is always available, but not always fully comprehended.

I find that God does not tire of us, and I believe that He misses us when we wander off, as much as He wants us to run into His presence when we need His intervention and forgiveness. Like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, He looks out for us daily and wants us to walk with Him. That is why we are created: to be at rest and at peace with Him, as it was in the beginning. Our failure and sin are no longer to be causes of estrangement, because His grace breaks the power of sin.

In any situation, as we dwell in His presence, as our opening text says, there is fullness of joy, a knowing that God holds us close and will not let us go. We can bring Him all our tumults and lay them down. It is not an aspiration, but a gift from a grateful Father to loving children, who know that He misses them when they are not in His presence. Sorrow, pain, and even death's abyss will be gone one day, and we will once more resume walking in the cool of the day, communing with our God.

Prayer: Lord, as we come before Your throne, we ask Your forgiveness for not abiding in You. Imbue us with Your Holy Spirit and grant rest for our beings. May we know the presence of our Abba Father, for You long to see us close by Your side. As we walk with You, please speak Your Word afresh into our hearts and minds. May our spirits be overwhelmed with the joy of being with You always, even to the ends of the earth. We praise You, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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About the author:

Rod Marshall <>
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Beautiful thoughts Rod.

    Your prayer is mine as well.

    Thanks Rod for reminding us of God’s all-encompassing love that draws us back to His embrace when we wander. Blessings.

    Wonderful observation Rod. I wish I could hold onto it tight enough that what other people think of me wouldn’t matter so much.

    This is such a helpful devotional to remind me that God lovingly and patiently waits for me to come into His presence and to make this a priority each day.

    Dear Brother-In-Christ Rod:
    Your Devotionals are always a source of comfort and blessings to us all.
    Thank you and God bless you and your family.

    “Oh love of God, how rich and pure!
    How measureless and strong!”
    Thank you for sharing!

    Hi Rod,
    Your writing always gives me great pleasure and cause to think and appreciate life in God’s presence. I would say without knowing your family that your girls are blessed with you as their father.
    Thank you.

    Hello Rod,
    Well said! It indeed is a long, hard process to give way to God’s grace: we do so want our relationship with Him to be on our terms! Yours is a full and beautiful reminder of the joy that awaits our walking with Him!

    It is always a delight reading your meditations; thought-provoking messages; so rich in language and imagery. Today’s meditation evokes such a tender image of our Heavenly Father, creating a yearning for fellowship with Him. Your prayer was beautiful too. May God richly Bless you as you continue to do His work and share the Good News through your musings.

    Thank you for your wonderful devotional today. It spoke to me and I could just picture your children bursting through the door to greet you after their sleepover with their aunt and family. (What a thoughtful person she is!)
    May we daily reflect the love our Heavenly Father has for us so that our families and friends may see Jesus and experience His Love and Joy too. And may we always be thankful that He is there, waiting to hear from us, His children, bursting through the door with Joy!

    Dear Roderick Marshall,
    You have worked well to write this devotional. As appreciation for your good effort and and production I will email to you a devotional I have written recently.
    Keep writing.

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