December 19 He Never Changes


I just spent a couple days away with my mom and sisters at a beautiful hotel overlooking the ocean. It was a gift of retreat, rest from the Lord. We haven’t gone away like this since before we had children which was many years ago, so we used the excuse of a birthday to get away together. It was a gracious gift from our husbands as well as they bore the weight of our children at home, my middle sister’s husband being extra gracious as they have just added 4 to their family through adoption. Life is busy and we knew this time was just as good as any other time. If we didn’t do it now we’d never do it.

There’s something about that grabbing the moment, taking the opportunity because this one is a gift, way of living that I want to do more of. We have this moment and that’s all we know. We laughed and told stories, recounting the crazy things of this year. There have been some deep valleys of the past that we talked about, my sister retelling the horrifying story of their detention in Ghana this past summer, the feeling of having your kids ripped from your arms, and the agony of her heart as she’s tried to figure out where God had been in those moments. My grandmother’s passing left a hole in my mother’s heart, having had to say goodbye to the rock of her life, a woman who had lived fully all the way to 102. My younger sister and her family made a huge move across the country, listening to a heart’s call to use their lives more effectively for the kingdom. Our lives have also held consistent transition and I shared of the temptation towards wanting to exert greater control to keep things together for my family in the midst of change. We looked ahead to 2013 and we found ourselves tempted to worry about what this next year might hold.

We cannot control it. Pain and hardship, todays and tomorrows, we cannot foresee. Does God want us to go through pain so that we can bring Him glory? Or rather is it that He can use the pain that comes from living in a fallen world for His glory? He doesn’t want his children to suffer and hurt. That is incongruent with His character, with who He is. His parental love for us is perfect and whole. As my sister shared her story she said she would have exchanged places with her children, she would have taken the fear and pain on herself if she could have. How much more is our Heavenly Father like that?

The Father sent His Son Jesus to earth, to a foreign place, a place that was sinful and living far away from Him. He let His Son go, to bear the weight of the sin of all of man, He suffered from that separation and pain. He bore it for us. Jesus coming to earth meant physical separation from His Father and entering into a fallen and foreign world. The Father did this so that we could have life. This one thing he did on our behalf so that we would have abundant life. (John 17:17)

We can’t make sense of this past year but one thing we know is that we now can live. Fully Live. Not in fear. But in faith. Trusting the One who came for us and gave up His life so that we could live. His sacrifice is unimaginable and I reflect on this today. If the Father gave up His Son for me, how much more will He take care of us every moment of 2013?

Joseph didn’t know the Holy One that his wife would soon give birth to. I wonder what his nights were like as he lay there thinking of the woman whom he had chosen to marry. He couldn’t fathom what the days ahead would be like. But his faith in God would carry him through. God’s word in a dream would be words that he probably reviewed often in his mind. It probably helped him endure the ridicule of others as he watched his wife’s belly grow. As they traveled to Bethlehem that winter day he must have been holding onto God’s promises to him. And that was enough. 

His promises are true for us today. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His sameness is my hope today.  

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