Caleb’s Gift

Has your heart sunk?

Has your mind raced too fast and furious from all reason and sense?

Has your resolve waned?

Has your hope dissolved?

Has your steady demeanor rumbled and rattled?

After nine months (and more) of living life during the 2020 pandemic, how are you doing?

Are you okay?

I must ask.

As many of you know, our family was gifted with the unique opportunity to live life in our friends’ basement due to this pandemic reality. We are indebted to our dear friends for extending their hospitality to us well beyond our agreed-upon three-month stay. We have passed the one-year mark of remaining in the United States. We are seeking the Lord for His purposes, but in the meantime, we remain. Waiting.

Are we okay?


We are together.

We are healthy.

We are safe.

We are strong.

Yet, I will confess that we really miss our home and life in South Africa. Our youngest son, Caleb, is having the hardest time right now. He really wants to be back home  – sleeping in his own bed, playing his own games, running about in our front garden, eating at our dining room table, and having our own space again. We spent significant time today with our son – just loving on him, listening to him, holding him, and praying for him. And then, the Lord gave Caleb and our family a gift. He led us to these familiar, heart-affirming words:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

New International Version, Philippians 4: 4-7

Of course, there are many gems of encouragement to welcome from Paul’s exhortation. However, four heart-centering, mind-shifting, hope-elevating words captured our family’s attention. Nestled between the Lord encouraging us to be gentle and caring of others and His consoling admonition to refrain from being anxious, He serves up a strengthening reminder.

The Lord is near.

When our heart sunk with the recent news of more COVID-19 restrictions, we were reminded this week:

The Lord is near.

We are all dealing with something – big, bold, and baffling. And yet, there God is. He is near.

When our mind races to a bajillion ‘what-if’ scenarios, we are calmed.

The Lord is near.

When our resolve wanes, and we don’t have the energy to continue, we are bolstered.

The Lord is near.

When our hope dissolves into a mushy, ooey-gooey mess of despair, we are embraced.

The Lord is near.

When our steady demeanor rumbles, rolls and shakes loose, we are made secure.

The Lord is near.

When our health and well-being are threatened, we are guarded and protected.

The Lord is near.

When sadness envelopes our souls, we are loved.

The Lord is near.

When our identity and purpose are discounted and ignored, we are accepted.

The Lord is near.

When we feel lost, abandoned, and alone, we are welcomed.

The Lord is near.

In the center of every situation, circumstance, and station of life, we must remember and acknowledge the presence of our Lord and Savior.

He is near.

He sees us.

He knows us.

He is for us.

His presence is sure.

Friends, I am not going to tell you that any of our situations in life are easy. They are not. We are all working through different feelings, expectations, and life scenarios as best we can. And yet, we are not alone. Our God is with us.

So, let’s acknowledge Him.

That’s what our family is planning to do this week.

When we are frustrated, we will say, “The Lord is near.”

When we are weary, we will confess, “The Lord is near.”

When we are angry, we will shout, “The Lord is near.”

When we are sad and heart-sore, we will cry, “The Lord is near.”

When we are worried, we will announce, “The Lord is near.”

When we are overcome, we will sigh, “The Lord is near.”

And when we are joyous and strong again, we will celebrate, “The Lord is near.”

My dear friends, it is said during this pandemic life, “We are all in this together.” Maybe so. But I want us to go one step further. Our Lord is in this whole, big-and-wide-world thing, too.

He is near.

Don’t forget Him.

Look for Him.

Call out to Him.

Trust Him.

Be real about your feelings.

Name them.

And then speak these affirming, heart-centering, faith-assuring words into your situation, “The Lord is near.”

This is our family’s pathway. This is Caleb’s gift to open this week.

Will you join us and remember…

5 thoughts on “Caleb’s Gift

  1. Thank you for that timely reminder!! I have to admit, I have been on an emotional rollercoaster this past week. I fear and them I remind myself that THE LORD is near, then I am heart sick for the faithlessness I see and I pray for those in need of Him and remember that THE LORD is near. I have to admit again, that I have missed my husband’s loving arms more this week than I have in the nine years since He went home. I am tempted to plead for the Lord to take me home, but that is NOT my call. I will remain as long s My Father wants me here and I will pray and be strong for those who need my encouragement. I pray for your encouragement and may your heart be strong and you comfort Caleb. I can imagine his long heart. I will also pray for his strength. Love and Blessings for you all. Shirley

    1. Dear Shirley,

      May you feel the love of your Lord and the love of us all in tangible ways. This COVID season is difficult. We understand and we are with you. We are thankful for you! You are a gift. We love you!

  2. Amen!

  3. Oh Heather, your words ( of course God’s words) are such a ‘ gift’ to us. We have been at home all this 2020 but with such a desire to travel to be with, and help our family in the US. But- ‘rejoice’ ‘ do not be anxious’ pray and be thankful- why? Because the Lord is near! Happy thanksgiving Heather.

    1. May our Lord be your peace and your joy – even in this uncertain time, Mary. I know its very challenging to not see family and be where you want to be. I’m sorry. This time is not easy. I am grateful the Lord is near us – through it all. Happy Thanksgiving Greetings to you, as well.

      With love, heather

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