LOVE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE IN OUR PERSPECTIVE
(Friday, December 23rd)
Different: partly or totally unlike in nature, form, or quality; dissimilar; not the same; unusual, special
Divine: of, relating to, or proceeding directly from God; supremely good
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
This week, our family Christmas gathering was postponed (for the third year) when our grandsons picked up the influenza virus. Life is filled with these disappointments. A gift doesn’t arrive on time. A winter storm impacts our travel plans. A power outage upsets our baking process. An expected guest has to cancel. We lament a bit, make new arrangements, and eventually regroup and recover.
But then there are those life-changing moments of anxiety and grief, when life is suddenly disrupted or uprooted. Tests reveal a serious health concern. The position has been filled. A loved one shares the news we had been dreading. An investment goes awry. We are heartbroken and distraught, knowing that life will never be the same.
We initially wonder, What will I do now? Where do I go from here? Will I be able to handle this?
We may then begin asking, Why did this happen to me? Why now? Why can’t life be easier? Will I ever get a break?
And finally, we may deeply question…
Where is God in all of this?
Advent Love is the way Jesus came to reveal God in all of this.
The world seems to teach us that for life to be good, it has to be a certain way – filled with successes, achievements, abundances, joyful days, and loving relationships – until the very end. And there are those whose faith in God is contingent on life going that certain way. When they experience hardship, they stop believing in God “who would allow this to happen.” But perhaps one of the most loving things God has done was to create and set this world in motion, allowing life to play out naturally, allowing us to live freely.
God might not intervene by changing circumstances or preventing hardships, but God can and does help us by changing our perspective, by revealing new ways of living and being in this (imperfect) world. Life becomes more bearable and beautiful when we understand that we do not and cannot know everything. Our perspective deepens when we realize that we cannot see the future, we cannot comprehend the bigger picture, we cannot know the size of God’s perfect, unfathomable love.
What we can know is that in everything, God will work to bring about good. Advent Love is seeing God in Christ endure all of human life, suffering, and death, then overcome it all with the incredible joy of resurrection. Advent Love is knowing that even in our darkest days, a brighter day has been promised. Advent Love is the kind grace that tells us that there is always something more, something significant, something sacred beyond our ordinary and sometimes terrible days.
Advent Love gives us the capacity to look beyond the different to discover the divine.
I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may perceive what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. (Ephesians 1:16-19 NRSVUE)
Definitions found at https://www.merriam-webster.com/
Bible passages are the NRSVUE version, taken from https://www.biblegateway.com/
Photo by Karen
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Where is God in all this pain?
That’s what some want me to ask,
but I think I shall remain
steadfast that it’s not my task
to cry out a mewling Why?,
to pout that It Isn’t Fair!,
because I’m not That Kind Of Guy
who goes and soils his underwear
when God won’t do as I say,
because I know a thing or three,
like, He is not bound to obey
for Ultimate Divinity
sees lots further than I do,
and I trust that He will see me through.
I have learned this about you over the years, that your trust and steadfast perseverance remain. And yes, God will see you through, as God has done for years now. Happy holidays, my friend. ❤
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You may never know how many times your words are found at just the right time. For me, today was one of those days. Thank you for your insight and your understanding of God’s deep love for us. Merry Christmas!
Oh my. You couldn’t know this, Sandy, but I needed your words today, too. I felt a little unsure about this one, even though it was heartfelt. Amazing how the Spirit moves. Thank you for letting me know, and thank you for your gift! Happy holidays my friend.
I am thinking of you this evening, Sandy, and I said a prayer just in case you are facing some life changes. Just wanted you to know.
Thank you! The prayer is needed. Bless you.