It came down to just a few simple lines for me this week, one of which is from Come, Follow Me, in Psalms 23: 5,
"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies."
And two lines from Elder Aidukatis' address,
"My capacity to face challenges with optimism increased."
"...we will be challenged at times, but the Lord Himself is our great exemplar and guide in such circumstances. He understands what a difficult mission is. With His help, we can do hard things. He will be by our side..."
As I string these excerpts together, I suddenly see it so clearly—Christ sitting beside me, in the presence of my enemies. He is not ashamed, afraid, or intimidated. There is no disappointment in His eyes, only compassion, as He sees the fight before me from my perspective—from my side of the table.
He listens to my concerns, my fears, and my insecurities. He nods and puts His arm around me as He looks across the table at the hard things—the heavy, the confusing, the embarrassing, —and says,
"You and me? We can do this, I promise. Together, we have have everything it takes to overcome anything that sits across from you now, or will in days to come. Trust me. Just keep setting a place for me at this table, and I will be here. Always."
Then I notice the girl beside Him, me. I see her back straighten, her shoulders roll back as she wipes her tears. I look into her eyes and I see a fight I haven't seen in a long time. Her confidence and strength suddenly realized as she finally believes she is not alone. And her heart somehow rejoicing, even in the presence of her enemies, because she knows the Man who sits—who fights—beside her.
Friends, in all honesty this is not what I sat down to write today, and yet it sort of just spilled out. Apparently it was a truth—a little visioning exercise—that I needed to be reminded of this morning. I could probably keep going for another several paragraphs, but this is the story of all of us. Maybe you take some time to let it continue you in your own mind—this reality that so long as we set a place for Him in our lives, He will always be by our side ready to face those things that scare us most. This is truly, a reason to rejoice.
I feel the Lord by my side, as He sits with me in the presence of my enemies. He promises to fight with me, so long as I continue to set a place for Him there.