Monday, December 17, 2012

{gifts of the season} clinging to promises in the darkness of this world...

When tragedy strikes and evil looms near, I tend to retreat inward.  To place a quiet place where the Truth can shout louder than the media.

When I need to make sense of such senseless acts of hatred, I seek solace in the Word.  And then I pray for words that will allow me to understand {as best as I possibly can, this side of Heaven}.

I crave understanding as if it will make all things right again.  Understanding is not mine to have.  It is not something that I will obtain by watching every news story or reading every Facebook post or Twitter update. There is not a single thing that will allow me to wrap my mind around the evil of this world in a way that sheds light on His greater plan. 

His plan. 

Tragedy causes people to either turn to God or turn their backs on Him. 

Those who choose the later reach a dead end. They choke on the unanswered questions and loss of hope.

When tragedy strikes, people tend to look upward and ask, 'Why?' 

They want to know how a God who came to Earth as Jesus to save people could allow such innocence to be lost.

We demand answers.  We seek understanding.  We devour the news searching for answers.  We tremble and quake under the 'what ifs' and 'they could have been us'.  We allow fear to grip us so tightly that we can barely inhale.

And all the while, He just wants us to know Him.  To understand His character.  To know and believe He is good.  To seek Him.

God is not unfamiliar with innocence lost.  After all, He sent His very own Son into this twisted, dark, evil world, the Son that was born this very time of year, the Son that walked the Earth and endured the heartache and mess of this world, the perfect Son, who was beaten, bruised and murdered. 

Innocence lost.

God sent His Son.  To save us.  A fallen creation.  A people seperated from God because of our own choices.  Our sinful nature.  People who have been destroying ourselves from the beginning of time.

Jesus came to save us.  Each and every one of us.  Both the innocent and the guilty.  Both the young and the old.  Both the right and the wrong. 

This is how much God loved the world:
He gave his Son, his one and only Son.
And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed;
by believing in him,
anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son
merely to point an accusing finger,
telling the world how bad it was.
He came to help, to put the world right again.
Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted;
anyone who refuses to trust him
has long since been under the death sentence
without knowing it. And why?
Because of that person’s failure to believe in
the one-of-a-kind Son of God
when introduced to him.
John 3:16-18 (MSG)

There are no words I can utter that will act as a salve to the heart ache and grief.  There are no words that will serve as a Band-Aid to the brokenness.  There are no words to ease the suffering. There are no words to explain the reason why horrific things happen.  Nor change the events that have happened. 

But there is the Word.  God's living, breathing Word.

Truth.  Promises.

With all the cunning and calculated plans of your worst nightmare, the Enemy is seeking to destroy us.  Foolishly, he thinks that he still has a chance at victory.  Recklessly, he believes that he can use recent events to take our eyes off the Truth, to cause us to lose focus and to overcome us with fear.  To make us forget that Jesus came in the dark, night, into the mess of this world, to save us. 

When the darkness of this world threatens to overshadow and when evil looms near, I choose to retreat to Promises of life.  Promises of a future.  Promises of healing.

As a mother of small children, fear and doubt creep up and anxiety threatens to overtake me, but I choose to look up. 

I choose to keep my gaze on Jesus.  In all of my days.  I choose to believe the Truth.  I stand on His promises. 

When we purposefully choose to sing praises to God during times of tragedy, the very bowels of Hell quiver and quake.

Hope was born all those years ago.  In a filthy, messy, broken place.  And Hope still resides with us today.  Still in a filthy, messy, broken place.


God with us.


God with us.  Through the pain and suffering.  Through the happiness and joy.  Through the thick and thin.  Through life and death.


God with us.

Father, tragedy is happening all around us.  As we are celebrating this Advent, this time of expectant waiting and celebration of the birth of your Son, it can appear as if all hope is lost.  It is not.  Because Hope was born in a filthy, messy world all those years ago.  You sent your Son for us.  To give us a hope and a future.  God, I know, beyond all reason, you are in the midst of all the tragedy occuring in the world.  It is my prayer that Your glorious face be revealed to those enduring such pain and suffering.  May those of us who are watching these events happen from afar fall on our knees, boldly approach the Throne of Grace and confidently ask that the peace that surpasses all understanding flood our hearts and minds this day.  May we proclaim Your powerful and faithful Name always.  And may Your everlasting, redeeming arms wrap around the families and friends who have lost precious loved ones.  May those same arms wrap around the families and friends of those who have caused such heartache.  May You bind them all up in Your grace and mercy.  Be with us all, Father.  May we feel your presence in a mighty way.  For it is in the precious and saving and merciful name of Your Son, Jesus, that I pray.  Amen.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends:
With the Lord a day is like a thousand years,
and a thousand years are like a day.  
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise,
as some understand slowness.
Instead he is patient with you,
not wanting anyone to perish,
but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:8-9

There is room at the Cross to cling to His promises.  If you haven't already, I'd love for you to join me here.  It is here that you will find the hope you need to endure the pain and suffering of this world. It here that you will find all you need to walk through this temporary life.  It is here you will find life-giving water.  It is here you will find peace.  He's waiting for you, patiently waiting, not wanting a single one to perish. 

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