Immanuel in Woe or in Weal

Immanuel in Woe or in Weal

“Moment by moment, in woe or in weal, Jesus my Savior abides with me still.” Daniel W. Whittle, “Moment by Moment”

Merry Christmas! It’s a repeated greeting that can easily become commonplace.

Christmas is described as merry because Jesus abides with you and me. Still. Enduring. Faithful. He never leaves us; nor does he forsake us.

In woe. In weal.

Woe is defined as a condition of deep suffering from misfortune, affliction, or grief. These are moments when life takes a painful turn. Yet, he is still Immanuel, God with us, even in pain.

Weal, on the other hand, is defined as a sound, healthy, or prosperous state of life. These are moments when life is good. Things are going our way.

Moment by moment, God is with us regardless of whether our state, condition, or experience is best described as woe or weal. Both. And always.

“It’s no major news flash that the bodies and the world we live in are not safe; our circumstances are unknown, and the very laws of nature in and around us are moment by moment causing us and everything else to fall apart.” Katherine and Jay Wolf, Suffer Strong

Let’s be honest, it’s pretty easy to acknowledge God’s presence and goodness when all is well. In weal. However, the crisis comes when we are face-to-face with woe. Crisis. Disbelief. Shock. Numbness. Death. Loss. Pain. Despair.

I could go on.

“Jesus! What a help in sorrow! While the billows o’er me roll, Even when my heart is breaking, He, my comfort, helps my soul. Hallelujah! What a Savior! Hallelujah! What a friend! Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end.” J. Wilbur Chapman, “Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners”

By contrast, I have learned that if we turn to God and not away from him in times of woe, that is when we see his help and comfort most clearly. We receive his saving, helping, keeping, and loving ways. We embrace his presence, his companionship. We spontaneously exclaim, “Hallelujah! What a Savior! Hallelujah! What a friend!” Immanuel. God is, indeed, with us.

And it began in a manger in Bethlehem. Humble.

Christmas is that seminal and historical moment that changed everything. In the string of moments this is a pivotal moment. In the string of gifts this is a pivotal gift. God’s presence was infused into human history in the birth of Jesus. Immanuel is with us. Merry was made possible.

This Christmas, we need to press into the moment when it all began. Remember. Celebrate. Believe. Trust.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:11, 14

Again, ponder that first Christmas and the gift he is for mankind. For you. Peace has now been made available to you and all mankind. Joy-filled merriment is appropriate.

In woe or in weal. Moment by moment. He is Immanuel, God with us. He abides with us. Still. Therefore, whether we face woe or weal we must abide with him. He is our peace, our gift.

“For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence.” Psalm 21:6

“Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.” Psalm‬ ‭51:11‬

Note: As I celebrate my recent engagement, I acknowledge I am in a good “micro-story.” However, God was also good to me in the valley, my other “micro-story.” That is my testimony, my story; God is good in woe or in weal.


  1. Our God is so faithful. As we both celebrate a Christmas Miracle we give Him praise.

    Merry Christmas Brother, may we both enjoy the blessings and the love of Him who loved us so.


    • D. Ray Davis

      Amen, and Merry Christmas, Annette. Have a great time with family as you celebrate Immanuel, God with us.

  2. Anonymous

    Great word today D Ray. Congratulations on your engagement. Hope you have an awesome Christmas…God with us.

    Roger D Mardis, President

    Friends of Nazareth

    • D. Ray Davis

      Thanks, Roger. Merry Christmas to you, too.

  3. Greg Davis

    I love the way you quote the lyrics from the old hymns as well as from contemporary songs. That’s definitely helpful to define words such as “woe” and “weal” that we don’t use much anymore.

    My father’s favorite hymn was “Man of Sorrows”. He often quoted the lyrics in his sermons over the years. We celebrated his 100th birthday in 2019 just six weeks before he went to heaven.

    I was excited to hear about your recent engagement. You have often quoted the Psalm that says, “Weeping my endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” So glad you are experiencing a beautiful morning sunrise in your life now.

    • D. Ray Davis

      Thanks, Greg. Lyrics and Scripture were invaluable during my loss. And thanks for the congratulations!

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