What is all this for? Advent Day 10

We hold a family meeting this morning because we need it. 

Hearts are fragile and news from Daddy this morning has all of us holding on by what feels like a spider web of hope. Each morning we wait for better news but these days, well, there is none.  Not the kind we want. 

Don't we do that? We want to wake up and find that whatever was weighing us down the days before is all gone. That we'd wake up from this terrible dream and find broken things fixed and all darkness gone. My daughter expresses this from her chair this morning. I wish that life could be normal again. What's normal? I ask.  Where we're not talking about pain and no one is dying. 

Sweet girl. She like many of us aches for heaven. 

Grief and joy are intermingled in Scripture, paired together like oil and wine. There are five references that speak of mourning turning into joy. Mourning turned to dancing. (Psalm 30:11) I look up all of these references this morning because I need to know it can happen. Can you relate? Isn't there a cry in your heart for the pain to stop? Whether it's your personal pain or that of a friend or the pain of the suffering in the world today, pain is here and when will this turn into joy? 

My second son, philosopher child who says deep things in such a low voice you have to ask him to repeat himself. They are the kinds of things that you wonder how someone his age can think so deeply about. He looks at the family this morning and says, things aren't as they seem, Mom. God is still doing something. We just couldn't handle it if he showed us everything." 

You see, I am afraid that all of this stuff might turn my kids from God. But as I listen to them share from their hearts there is evidence that their hearts remain turned toward Him. Pat cliche answers that don't really explain anything but rather quiet the questioning won't suffice. The questions aren't wrong, it's that I long for my kids to know God's heart for them. My husband leads our family this morning from his bed thousands of miles away, he leads us to the heart of God. Yes, there is the sackcloth and weeping, but there is no cursing of God. Romans 8:28, a verse that sometimes is carelessly overused in times of suffering, challenges us again to trust that God does use evil and suffering, something that the enemy tried to use to crush us, and turns it for His good purposes. 

This morning we listen to a podcast on suffering because we have run out of words. 

My youngest on the couch props himself up and begins his question-asking almost immediately. So, if God knew everything from the beginning, why did he go through with his plan? Couldn't he have stopped them? Why put "that tree" there to tempt them? 

It's about a relationship.. I begin.

Listening prompts more questions and we turn those answer-seeking hearts to the Lord and let Him comfort us once again. 

A new theology of suffering is emerging this Advent and it doesn't matter how old you are. God desires childlikeness in all of us and I'm learning this Advent from the young. 

Psalm 34:4-8
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
    He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
    no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
    he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
    he surrounds and defends all who fear him
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
    Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
grief and joy mixed by M


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