I’m back after eight difficult months of silence. I must be honest and say that 2015 has by far been the hardest year of my life. It unfolded as a series of unpleasant circumstances that included death, a car crash, a best friend living 1600 miles away, a job that can be really, really difficult, and a college environment that leaves no room for peace and quiet.
Needless to say, my heart has been heavy these past few months. I find myself restlessly waiting for 2016 because surely it will bring the peace and joy I have been seeking!
But here’s the thing: It might not.
The trials and tragedies and horrifying news stories will not stop because a fresh new year makes its debut. There will still be refugees without homes and people killed by the hands of tortured souls. This thought is almost enough to make me give up sometimes. But then, I remember.
I remember that the God of the universe chose to come to this little, messed-up world. I remember that His son Jesus, in all of His glory and perfection, humbled Himself and became a tiny human. I remember that He lived on this earth and grew up experiencing the pain of humanity and feeling every unpleasant emotion in His heart. I remember that He gave Himself to rescue us from sin, even though we are ungrateful rebels.
There is so much hope in our Savior.
The story of Christmas illustrates God’s presence and renewing power in dark places. He did not stay away from the earth and save us through some indirect, quiet ritual. No, He entered the darkness and demonstrated His love through the most beautiful sacrifice the world has ever seen. The Lord does not watch the news to get caught up with the newest happenings on earth. No, the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). He is with us in our confusion, anger, and grief, and He will be with us in our healing.
This is a beautiful song written by All Sons and Daughters about Paris before tragedy struck in November. It has become a prayer for those who are broken and mourning. You can read the lyrics and download it on noisetrade.
Doug Rumford, the pastor at my home church, said yesterday in his sermon that the big picture is hope. We like to look at our lives and our world in segments because it’s easy. 2015 alone was filled with disappointments, tragedies, mistakes, anger, and grief. What happened throughout and between the difficulties in my own year and the world’s year reveals that God is working in the midst of the darkness. He is greater than the struggles and sweeter than the successes. He provides for us and prepares our ways. There is no despair too great or celebration too joyful for the Lord. God’s love, power, and presence are constant, and for that I am so, so thankful.
Jesus will come again to restore the world. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart (1 Corinthians 4:5). Until He does, we can pray that the peace of Christ will be present in our hearts and in our world. He cannot change humanity’s sinful nature or protect us from the difficulties of a fallen world, but His peace allows us to see beyond our circumstances to find lasting joy, hope, and love. How fitting that we celebrate hope, peace, joy, and love during advent! It all makes sense in Christ.
Thank you for reading! It feels so good to be writing again. I pray that you would know the hope, peace, joy, and love of the Father in this Christmas season and throughout 2016. He loves you oh so much! 🙂
•Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise•