Emmanuel God is with us.

The many names of God. Do you have a nickname? I have been called many things. Daughter, wife, sister, Mom, friend, Jenny, Jenn, Jenny from the block, Curley, Jenny Boom Boom, JK, Mrs. Cioto, TSGT Gray, Jenny Gray, Jenny Cioto, Jenny Bean, Jennifer (only if I’m really in trouble), and maybe even “bump on a log.” The last one, you can all ask my Daddy about appropriate baby names at another time. Anyway, I answer to all of these names. What you call me depends on who I am to you and possibly when we met. All of my many names are precious to me. The people who call me by name are dear to my heart. When they call me, I turn to them. It is a natural reaction to turn to someone when they call your name, right?

All of these names mean something different, but they all are who I am. Whether you call me Jenny or Sister doesn’t change who I am, right? No, the only difference between them is who you see me as. Who I am to you, our closeness and our relationship dictates what name you will call me.

My role in your life does not change the person I am. Of course, you will treat me differently if I am your work friend versus you being my child. But yet, I am still me.

That is why I love all the different names God has.
God, Lord, YHWH, El Shaddai, Adonai, Abba, Jehovah Jireh, and Emmanuel, to name a few. None of these names changes the essence of who God is. The name we use in prayer says more about where our heart is than the Lord and author of our lives.

I love all of the names of God and, at different times, have cried to Him with His various names. The name I want to talk about today, though, is the Hebrew name for God, which is “Emmanuel,” which literally means “God is with us.”

God is with us. Isn’t that beautiful? He is not a God sitting upon a throne unreachable. He is not a God that leaves us in the valley. He is not a God who says, “That all sounds good, I’ll get back to you next week on that prayer request.”

No. He is with us all the time. He never leaves us. He is faithful even when we are not. He loves us even at our worst. For he is Emmanuel; God is with us.

When things get rough in this world, and I feel as though I can not turn on the TV without corrupting my soul, I am reminded that God is with us. We are not fumbling around down here alone.

God will answer your prayers. He hears you. The Lord loves you. He will never leave you.

Now, does that mean he gives you a yes to everything you ask for? Absolutely not; that would be a hot mess. God knows what we need even before we ask.

That boy in High School that you just never could catch the eye of no matter how hard you prayed. Yeah, God didn’t answer that because He had a fantastic spouse in mind.
Healing your wounds so that you could stay in the Air Force. Yeah, again, no, God had a future brighter than that to walk into.

If you don’t close a door to something, you might miss an opportunity to the door prepared for you.

Emmanuel God is with us.

We don’t always know why we are walking through a mess when we are walking through it. God has His reasons, though.

Sometimes when I look at something especially hard in my life, I find myself asking, “Why God?”. Often the answer is because I did it of my own free will or that I forgot that He wants my whole heart on Him. For me to realize that He is right there with me in the midst of the struggle.

Emmanuel, God is with me. In every health ailment, in every battle, every heartbreak, every money issue, God is right there. He sees it all. He loves you and me, and He wants us to remember that we are not alone in our struggle.

We are loved. He is Love. There is nothing too big for Him, too hard for Him, or too shameful for Him. He is our rock and our provider. We need to only trust God, and He will make the path for us.

He is enough.

So as we walk into spring and almost to Easter, let us remember who is in charge. Who has all of this covered in mercy. Let us not lose hope when we turn on the news, our God is bigger, and He is with us.

With Joy,

Jenny Cioto with Pursuing true North

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