home > Pastor’s Desk > 2023 > March 3rd > A Very Present Help


Over summer I had the blessing of looking after my granddaughter Olive for a few hours.  I personally think she’s the best bubba in the world, but I suspect every other parent and grandparent may disagree.  They’re wrong, of course, but I won’t argue the point.  After a while she fell asleep in my arms.  Isn’t it one of the most precious things to hold a sleeping baby or child? To feel their warmth and closeness, to hold them securely, to see the way they relax into you. I always loved slipping into our children’s bedrooms when they were sleeping. Sometimes I couldn’t help myself and I just had to take a photo.  Too often I forgot about the automatic flash on my camera, and our poor children were woken from their slumber by a bright flash of light in their faces.  Oops.  I suspect they may still hold it against me.

I love this verse found in one of King David’s Psalms:

But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Psalm 131:2

It’s a beautiful picture of a small child with his or her mother, secure, calm, quiet, safe, relaxed.  It’s worth noting that it specifies a weaned child – the child is not there because they are seeking nourishment but quietly resting in their mother’s presence.

Have you noticed how often in Scripture God offers His presence as the answer to our fears or circumstances?

We see it when both Moses and Joshua were being called to lead the Israelites:

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He said, “But I will be with you…”
Exodus 3:11-12

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

In Psalm 46 the Sons of Korah record these words:

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.

Psalm 46:1-2

This is not a promise that nothing will go wrong!  But it reminds us that in the midst of our circumstances, our Lord is present to help us. Because of His presence with us, we need not fear.

Just before His ascension, Jesus’ final word are recorded in Matthew 28, commonly called “The Great Commission”.  Jesus concludes His commissioning with the comfort of His presence always: 

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:19-20

When we think of the presence of God, there’s an important truth we must remember: God is always with us!  His presence is everywhere.

Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 23:24

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
Psalm 139:7

Our experience and awareness of God’s presence may vary, but He is always with us.

There are many helpful and easy practices we can do to increase our awareness of God’s presence in our life.  Practises as simple as thankfulness, reflecting on Scripture (you could pop sticky notes on your mirror or car or cupboard), praying for people as we watch the news or as we go about our life, pausing regularly to intentionally focus on God, breath prayers. I heard someone – a fellow tea drinker – share that whenever she was making a cup of tea and waiting with the teabag in her cup, she would pray that God would infuse her with the Holy Spirit just like the tea leaves were infusing the water. Sometimes when I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I make myself walk s l o w l y – it’s to remind my spirit that God gives me enough time, strength and grace to do whatever He’s called me to do.

Brother Lawrence wrote a very well-known book “Practising the Presence of God”.  He made a practise of being aware of the presence of God in the everyday tasks of his life – washing dishes and working in the monastery kitchen.

Sometimes we are so very aware of the Lord’s presence in our lives.  Sometimes we get distracted, or busy, or caught up in life and find ourselves losing that awareness.  Sometimes God “feels” a long way away (remember that He’s not, though!).

As someone who longs to be aware of God’s presence in all my life, from my waking moments to retiring at the end of the day, through the mundane tasks and the special occasions, I find these words of Brother Lawrence encouraging:

“As often as I could, I placed myself as a worshiper before him, fixing my mind upon his holy presence, recalling it when I found it wandering from him. This proved to be an exercise frequently painful, yet I persisted through all difficulties.”

My prayer is that you and I increase in our awareness of the faithfulness and constancy of our Lord’s presence in our lives, that we persist in our intentionality of practises to increase that awareness… and that we learn to relax into our Father’s arms and rest like a child with their mother, safe, secure and at peace.




Your Care Team Pastor,



Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.


  1. Dr. Andrew Corbett

    Well done Donna. Always good to be reminded of God’s good presence especially when we are apprehensive.

  2. LYDIA

    Such a beautiful, calming piece of writing Donna. Thank you. As I finished reading it, scrolling down this hymn came to mind by William D Longstaff 1882:

    1. Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
    Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
    Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
    Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

    2. Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
    Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
    By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
    Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

    3. Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
    And run not before Him, whatever betide.
    In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
    And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

    4. Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
    Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
    Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
    Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

    • Sophia Saltmarsh

      Thank you Donna,beautiful comforting words as a reminder, we just need to keep our eyes on Jesus, the Lord makes it possible for anyone in any circumstance,to receive the peace that passes all understanding. Worshipping our God even in the fires of life,when He is with us still.


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We all walk a path in life that is set before us. We start with very little experience and knowledge about the purpose of our life and the world beyond us. All of humanity experiences joy, wisdom, strength, weakness, suffering and hardship, especially those who are “contending for the faith”. Knowing Jesus is a very special part of this life journey.


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Turn on any TV or radio news lately and there’s bound to be a story about the current “cost of living crisis”. We all feel it. Initially most people accepted the widespread price-rises were caused by 2020-21 pandemic lockdowns. But whatever the reasons for the rapid price hikes over the past two years, every time we go to the supermarket we feel it again. While governments are striving to curb the impact of this cost of living crisis, there remains a way to enjoy low cost living. The key to this is recognising that the most valuable things in life are literally priceless. The path to enjoying low-cost living is to be found in Christ, and what He taught — and it begins with treasure.

How To Know Jesus Better

It’s a scary thought to realise that the Jesus we have been told about and worship may not really be known to us at all. We can ‘know’ about someone or something, but not really know them. In Christian circles it’s often referred to as head knowledge not heart knowledge.

Knowing Christ Better

As a church, this year’s theme is coming closer to Christ by getting to know Him better. I feel that I am “the least qualified person” to tell anyone how this is done — but someone else has already claimed this distinction – the apostle Paul. After decades of hearing directly from Christ, seeing extraordinary miracles, being taken to heaven temporarily, planting churches across the Roman Empire, he could still say I would give anything to really know Christ – even if it meant suffering like He did! (Phil. 3:7-10). Therefore, I could say: If you do this or that, you will then know Christ better – but in my view, it’s not as easy as that! How we develop our relationship with Christ is shaped by several factors including our personality, our life experiences, our physical health and fitness, and our relationships with others (especially our parents and particularly our father). In fact, I believe that there is a relationship between how we have learned to build relationships with others (and notably how we have learned to relate to those who are closest to us) and how we then proceed to have a relationship with God. Even though I have expressed my lack of qualifications in telling anyone how to have a closer relationship with Christ, I still can, like one hungry beggar to another hungry beggar, offer you a few of the morsels of food that I’ve been able to find.


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