The familiar: Cold temps – 10 degrees, a dusting of snow, Hallmark movies, Christmas cards, phone calls, and gifts.
And what was missing? No in-person worship services (at our church), no big family gatherings, or time spent with many family and/or friends, and for the most part — no traveling. For some — lack of joy. Many have lost loved ones.
So….what exactly can we count on to remain the same? The reason we celebrate Christmas. God’s love. His expectations. God’s promises. God’s daily revelations and miracles. His strength. His wisdom. His Words that are in print. His Forgiveness. His whispers of Hope.
What is hope to you? If someone stopped you in the grocery store and said they were from a local newspaper and they were writing a story on hope and desperately needed your help, what instances would you share that gave you a glimmer of hope? Can you think of one? Maybe you need some time to think. Unfortunately, It seems most people can instantly remember those times that are discouraging or heartbreaking. I guess that’s a human trait. But what about those unbelievable God-wink moments?! Those a-ha! moments! Have you forgotten?
Author Lysa Terkeurst describes hope beautifully in her book Forgiving What You Can’t Forget. She said, “The reality is that Jesus’ death only lasted three days, but His resurrected hope has carried us into the future.”
Resurrected hope. That’s what we need — and that’s what Jesus provided all those years ago — knowing exactly what you and I would be facing today.
Friend, I don’t know about you, but I have to constantly remind myself that He is in control. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, He is very much alive and is on this journey with us. Even when we feel like we are losing a battle that we should be (or want to be) winning, HE is always there to pick us up. Yet we continue to grumble that life isn’t the way we want it.
Jesus loves you. He’s there, you just haven’t looked for Him. If you’ve accepted Jesus as your personal Savior and surrendered your life to Him — then you have hope for tomorrow! You have grace. Mercy. Unconditional love. Peace. Something to look forward to – ETERNAL life with Jesus.
If you’re having a hard time seeing God work in your life, please read the following. Once again, Lysa Terkeurst gives another good example of finding those glimpses of hope.
“The possibility of hope is what I want to look for so that hope is what I will see. And when I start to notice it, that noticing has a multiplying effect.
Have you ever decided you liked a certain kind of car, and though you haven’t noticed it very much before, the next time you’re out driving, you look for it? And when you look for it, that same car seems to be everywhere! You see two in your neighborhood, another at the stoplight beside you, and then several more when you pull into the parking lot of where you’re going. How can it be that you never noticed it, and then suddenly this car seems to be everywhere? It’s not that those cars just appeared on that day. Chances are they’ve been zipping around you for quite a while… but if you aren’t looking for them, you probably aren’t noticing them. That’s the multiplying effect of making the choice to look for something– you’ll start to see it more and more.”
The same is true with our faith. If we are experiencing an emptiness and feel as though Jesus just isn’t around or doesn’t care what’s happening in our life, we need to stop. We need to take the time to look for Him. Where does one begin? Start with the Scriptures. Believe me, you will find Him there.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” John 14:27
“Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time. Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you,” 1 Peter 5:6-7