Immanuel—God with Us!

“ . . . The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14, NIV)

Tucked away in this prophecy—first spoken by Isaiah and later fulfilled at the birth of Christ—is a special name embodying a vital truth: Even in our darkest moments, God is with us.

It broke my heart to deprive our three-month-old son, Davey, of food that night. I took him downstairs to give my wife Debbie a rest, and soothed him as he cried for his mother’s milk.

Only able to open his eyelids 1mm since birth, we were scheduled for his first surgery in the morning. You know the pre-surgical instruction of no food or drink after midnight.

The only thing I could do was to comfort Davey. “It’s okay,” I whispered as I cradled him. “Tomorrow the doctor will help you see. The darkness you are experiencing now will soon be replaced with seeing in a whole new way.” This was a promise sealed by my tender words and gentle touch.

Davey was utterly dependent on me as his loving father. As time passed he finally quieted himself, leaned into my arms and fell asleep. He was a picture of the kind of faith the Lord wanted me to have in my own desperation in coping with Davey’s special needs.

As I comforted him, the Lord’s presence comforted me. It was like the Lord was holding me in his arms even as I was holding Davey in mine.

Later that morning the ophthalmologist attached thread-like material from Davey’s eyelids to his eyebrow muscle. I’ll always remember his first post-surgery appointment. We have a picture of Davey shrieking with joy, an open-mouthed grin with his eyes wide open as he sits next to the doctor.

Jesus’ birth and His special name Immanuel reminds us that even in our darkest hour God is with us.