God is always near

This is a translation of a scriptural meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”:

Scripture: “Surely the Lord is present here, and I was not aware of it” (Gen: 28, 16)


"A tired traveler, late at night, walks along the road. He is an exile from his parents’ house, hiding from his brother’s revenge, separated for a long time from his parents, and all because of his own fault. He deceived his old father and the bitter truth of this lie forces the beloved son to flee, endure hardships and become a lonely wanderer. He is tired, it is dark, and he lies down in the open and lays his head on a stone. He dreams of a ladder which “stands on the ground, and its top reaches heaven”; and from above, above the dark corner where Jacob is resting, comes God’s voice: “I am with you…I will not leave you”…Jacob wakes up and says: “Surely the Lord is present here and I was not aware of it”.

"In the place of exile where your sin has brought you, where you are alone, completely alone, where perhaps you were not looking at all for God, He is present there next to you and is looking for your soul, because He has loved it and wants it to recognize its sinfulness and His Love.

" ‘I will not leave you’ until you turn to Me, until you build Me an altar in the heart that did not know Me. The stone Jacob slept on was hard, but when the heavenly light illuminated it, when the heavenly Voice sounded above it, the hard stone turned into a memorial marker, was softened with oil, and the deserted place was illuminated and was called the House of the Lord.

“Read this Bible story carefully and take to heart what it tells us as well. Amen.”

This brings to mind Lucy’s encounter with Aslan in chapter 10 of Prince Caspian:

"And then – oh joy! For he was there: the huge Lion, shining white in the moonlight, with his huge black shadow underneath him.

"She never stopped to think whether he was a friendly lion or not. She rushed to him. She felt her heart would burst if she lost a moment. And the next thing she knew was that she was kissing him and putting her arms as far round his neck as she could and burying her face in the beautiful rich silkiness of his mane.

" ‘Aslan, Aslan. Dear Aslan,’ sobbed Lucy. ‘At last’

The great beast rolled over on his side so that Lucy fell, half sitting and half lying between his front paws. He bent forward and just touched her nose with his tongue. His warm breath came all round her. She gazed up into the large wise face.

" ‘Welcome, child,’ he said."

It helps me to think that, no matter what, God is near and He cares. It helps from getting despondent.


“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)

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It helps me to think that, no matter what, God is near and He cares. It helps from getting despondent.

Dear Dimitry, that puts me in mind of this recent ( COVID time) paraphrase of Psalm 23, by Fr. James Joncas

O shelter me,
J.M.Joncas 2020

  1. Shepherd and sheep, my God and I:
    to fresh green fields you led my steps in days gone by.
    You gave me rest by quiet springs
    and filled my soul with peace your loving presence brings.

O shelter me, O shelter me:
the way ahead is dark and difficult to see.
O shelter me, O shelter me:
all will be well if only you will shelter me.

  1. Yet now I tread a diff’rent way;
    death dogs my path with stealthy steps from day to day.
    I cannot find your peaceful place
    but dwell in dreary darkness, longing for your face.

  2. I will look back in days to come
    and realize your faithfulness has led me home.
    Within your house I’ll find my peace,
    trusting that in your mercy you have sheltered me.

(Recording by a Filipino youth choir)
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Hyoi, it’s a lovely song. My wife and I noticed that there are several musical versions of it on YouTube.