I love celebrating this time of year with friends, family, neighbors, and anyone for that matter. This time of year brings out so many emotions and memories for me as I reflect back on my life. It is easy for me to sing, and praise when my life is going well. It’s easy for me to spread cheer when I, myself am feeling cheer. But what happens when I’m not so bright and cheery? What happens to me when I’m not feeling the mood to praise God for the goings-on in my life? There are many this time of year that face so many hardships, separation from family/friends, job loss, too many bills, health issues.
What about all of those who suffer from the unmentioned issues that they don’t wish to burden others with?
How does a single parent deal with deciding to pay this month’s car payment or put presents under the tree?
How does an elderly person deal with spending another Christmas alone, not to mention the cold weather has already stirred up arthritis to the point of not wanting to move.
How does a military family deal with having an empty place at the table for Christmas this year? How does a family who just had their utilities shut off deal with Christmas cheer?
How does a family who just lost a job deal with the shock of what to do next?
How does praising God thorough the midst of these and many more struggles feel, when our “emotional fuel tank” is sitting on empty? This is the time when putting a smile on your face is exactly the last thing you may ever want to do, and quite frankly, I don’t blame you.
Many Christians are quick to tell you that God is the answer, but they don’t even know your hardship. I have spent many Christmas holidays with struggle and strife myself. The issues come, and at times, it seems hopeless. The bills on the counter are more than I feel I could ever repay yet many will tell me that is all going to be alright. Where do they get the nerve, the gall, the…….. hope? WHERE DO THEY GET THE HOPE? It must be that, their lives are great and that they can praise God, because they don’t have any storms themselves. That must be it! This is the mindset that I have found myself in. I wanted to have their cheer, their hope, their faith. Sadly, I didn’t, and maybe you don’t either. This time of year can bring a whole load of mixed emotions, doubts, fears, and even great sadness.
So, what’s the quick fix, because, let’s face it, we all want the 5-minute cure for all that life ails us. Well I don’t have a quick fix, 5-minute self-help guide that can erase all your problems. What I do want to offer is what helped me, and is currently helping me ease the issues in my life. But I must remember that my suffering is not without end. Even King David cried out to God as he felt that his sorrows and sufferings were going to grieve him to the point of death. Psalms 13:2 & 3 bear reminder to us that David was grieved to the point of death, yet God did not allow him to suffer without cause. God was putting David though a season in which a time of growth and reflection harbored sorrows and suffering. This time of reflection that David was going through is something that we can all sympathize with. This time of year, we find ourselves experience what God is doing in and though our own lives. It may hurt, it may be painful, it may seem endless, but it will be different!
So where does the hope come from? How does one see the “light at the end of the tunnel”? Where does the peace I’ve been searching for actually come from? I have found it from the Lord, Himself. As Jesus was leaving the earth, His disciples were entering into the valley of doubt, worry, and defeat. It was the words of Jesus that came to comfort them during this time. Jesus had this to say in John 16:20-22
“Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy. 21 “Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. 22 “Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.
This is where my joy comes from. I found that no matter what sorrow or suffering, I will encounter in this life, no matter how hard the pain, or low the valley I must come to Christ with my lament. For there is no other hope in the world that can overcome the world. Only Christ has done that. If I am to overcome this world too, I must take comfort that it can, and has been done before. I must model my life after the One who can take my sorrow and give me hope. Not hope for a minute, or a day, rather, can give me hope for all time. Brothers and sisters please know that your storm is not without a rainbow, and your valley is not without a peak. For your time, will come when joy is in abundance and your pain is forgotten. For when you change your frame of mind joy is not a without, rather it is within. “Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.” Your morning is just around the corner, if you need help please reach out, we are here for you!!
May the peace of the Lord find you when you call upon His name!