Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Polar Express and Lauren Daigle are accompanying me as I begin to write. Spencer and Avery are currently within feet, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for these two souls the Lord has blessed Chris and I with. Our joy has remained constant as the season of Advent is upon us. Remembering Christ’s birth and His promise to one day return has sparked joy and hope after the loss of my mom. Tears of sorrow have come in waves, sometimes uncontrollable and unending. My mom would have been sixty-four this year, on December 29th. Oh how we miss her, with a yearning to be reunited. The holiday season has left us longing for my mother’s presence, and even more so, the return of our King.
I’ve realized that it’s possible to hope amidst loss. It is normal to hurt. Occasionally, I wrestle with the question of, “Am I allowed to still be hurt?” Of course I am. I am on a journey of healing hope that proceeds in God’s timing and at my own pace. I recently read in my devotional Grief: Walking With Jesus by Bob Kellemen, “It’s important that we honor the ‘nowness’ of our pain.” As believers, we see Romans 8:28 quoted about how God will work all things together for good, and I’ve noticed that there are times when I haven’t reached the twenty-eighth verse of Romans chapter eight mentally. Grief isn’t a race to say that God is good, because He is good all the time. I know deep down in my soul that He is working all things for my good, but I don’t feel that in my heart on a daily basis. Romans 8:17-27 reminds me that there is suffering, groaning, and weakness prior to remembering that God works all things together in my favor. I will experience suffering, but it is the Spirit who intercedes on my behalf. Thankfully, the end doesn’t result in me left alone with tears, unable to put my moaning into words. The Lord never leaves us in the casket of despair.
The Psalms are often quoted and referred to in giving thanks to the Lord. As I flip through my mom’s Bible, there are many verses in the book of Psalms she underlined. I understand why my mom liked the Psalms so much. As much as they’re about Thanksgiving, the Psalms are about lament as well. Psalm 13 is an example of anguish before hope, or thanksgiving. David feels as though he has been forgotten, that the Lord is hidden. He cries out, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?” I imagine my mom had felt forgotten numerous times. Cancer became her normal in a world crippled with disease. What a mixture of emotions her battle brought to all of us. Rejoicing in Truth, lamenting for the inevitable, yet hoping for a miracle of healing. Psalm 13 is a passage where it seems as though there is unending sorrow for David. All he wants is to be considered and felt seen by the Lord. In our deepest pit of despair, I think we all cry out to be seen…to be heard…to be saved. Then in verse 5 David says,
But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me."
What a flip of the switch. But God. The above words are highlighted in my mother’s Bible. HOPE. My mom must have felt at times that the Lord was no where near to her, abandoned. We may feel as though He isn’t listening according to how we are praying, and we may not know how to pray, but it is His salvation that we find hope in. She found comfort even in her trials, for that I am grateful. Her heart rejoiced in our Creator’s salvation. I love the saying, “I am His and He is mine.” She is His and He is hers. Even though our sufferings might feel overwhelming, unspeakable, there is hope. Friends, let us settle in and find comfort in a Father who has prepared a place for us in Heaven regardless of our troubles we face on Earth. He is there, in Heaven. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is here. Let us be reminded that our God is a promise keeper, who will return for ultimate restoration. Our Lord is worthy of our faith because He keeps His promises. This past week my Pastor, Stefan Jackson, put it perfectly when he said in reference to God’s faithfulness, “His faithfulness is birthed out of love for us, so He is worthy of our love for Him.” Consider the joy and hope that is in the news of the Gospel and the Lord, Jesus Christ. He will return, and what a glorious day that will be. Wishing a Merry Christmas to you all.
“The King is coming. Jesus Christ has come and will come again. This is the hope of the Church whom He purchased with His blood. Jesus’ coming is the eager expectation and desire of His people. It is our joy because He is our treasure and greatest good. This is the theme of “Advent,” formed from a Latin word meaning “coming” or “arrival.” It’s the traditional celebration of the first advent of Jesus in humility and the anxious awaiting of His second advent in glory. The season is a time for remembering and rejoicing, watching and waiting.” –The Village Church Advent Guide