A glorious sunrise burst over the North Country just as I was starting to write. It was too good not to share. I bundled up and braved the cold, so you wouldn’t miss out. A new day has dawned in the blogosphere, too. I’m writing again, happily.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s is my favorite of all. Six days of sweetness, every single year. This is a quiet glide of delight, in the afterglow of the most marvelous event of the ages.
Jesus’s birth is the one event that literally split time, B.C. to A. D.. Centuries of speculation and cynicism about the event and secularization of the celebration doesn’t dim our enthusiasm one iota. The Good News is just that good!
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 ESV
Unto you! God stooped low to live among us. Despite staggeringly improbable odds for a single life to fulfill a mere handful of messianic predictions, scholars attest to more than 300 completed in Christ Jesus.
Even so, many resist. The biggest hurdle to trusting in Jesus is often cited as the virgin birth. Ironic, much? (Parthenogenesis and all that.) I’ve had my share of doubts over time, completely normal in the development of faith. But surely a God who lit up the world by His word can impart life to the womb of a Hebrew maiden!
For nothing will be impossible with God. Luke 1:37 ESV
It’s no accident a step of faith is required to believe. By God’s design, we’ve a choice. We can insist on trying to control our destiny … or trust in Him. We can be ground down and worn out … or lifted up and carried along. We can strive and drive … or know His peace and rest.
The essence of faith is believing God’s got this, whatever this is. He’s got you, whatever you’re going through. He’s working it out, for our good and His glory, regardless of what we can (or cannot) see. Nothing is too big or impossible for our God. We can trust Him to deliver on every promise. And He’s made a lot of them!
But we can’t have it both ways. Either we trust in Him … or we don’t. Our daily life bears irrefutable evidence. Trusting, in the midst of chaos, we’ll have peace that doesn’t make sense to an unbeliever. Trusting, in the midst of suffering, we’ll speak life and convey hope. Trusting, we won’t be overly fearful or anxiety-ridden, because He is our refuge and safe harbor. Trusting, we’ll experience joy in the midst of difficult circumstances. That’s how He rolls.
God is glorified and others are drawn in when we trust in Him.
This week, in the third December of global pandemic, I’m startled to realize everyone I know is grieving. A father. A mother. A husband. A son. A friend. Some have lost their health. Or their peace. Financial woes. Emotional instability. Travel restrictions. Social limitations. So many losses on every level, the scope is completely incomprehensible.
In 2018, a year before the pandemic emerged, I’d fallen into a seemingly bottomless pit of pain and suffering. It was in that dark valley I learned to trust God like never before. I’m thankful now for that season and the essential lessons imparted. Each ounce of trust and step of faith was rewarded. Not because I’m good or worthy but because God is good and faithful.
For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever and his faithfulness to all generations (ESV) For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever. (MSG) Psalm 100:5
Gliding along this week-after-Christmas, I’ve turned one phase over a hundred times. Unto us. To think God loved us so much He made the leap from heaven to earth, to come unto us. He relinquished the highest privilege and all of glory to endure the deepest pain and darkest suffering. He accepted all of the indignities and limitations of flesh and blood, muscle and bone. He went to hell and back to complete His rescue mission. All He asks is a small step in faith, to believe.
Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent. (John 6:29 ESV)
My first steps of faith were at summer church camp, a lonely twelve year old in desperate need of a forever Friend and Savior. I believed! Seven years later, not long a bride, I delivered our firstborn. For months, I’d felt shame and derision as an uneducated, small-town teenager bearing a child. Those feelings vaporized with the cries of my newborn son.
I’d never known or even dared to imagine anything like this love: abundant, unbidden, and unconditional. I couldn’t contain it. I was certain it was evident to all, puddling at my feet, flowing out the door and streaming down the street! I felt fiercely protective of this precious wee one. I couldn’t have given him up, for anyone or any reason.
It hit me hard then, in realization of what God had done. How He must value me — and you. I didn’t want to waste another day on anything but all-in. God is love, personified, in His Son, born unto us. I’ll never forget the weight that lifted and joy that flooded my soul. Another faith-step, trusting in Him as Lord of my life.
Today is your day, friend. I hope your next step is of faith. God knows your past, holds your present, and guards your future. He can redeem anything. Yes, you can trust Him!