Outside it is gray, foggy, somber. Inside, it is warm, cozy, Christmasy. This contrast of the warm glow of Christmas lights to the cloud of mist settled thickly outside my window reminds me of the seeming contradiction of a life lived in faith.
The way that circumstances appear, the way that they seem to stack up like an insurmountable obstacle, stands starkly against the inner presence of Strength, Hope, the Comfort of the Creator, that provides encouragement and assurance.
How is it that in the face of pain, brokenness, unfairness, fear that we can stand strong, radiate hope, whisper prayers of gratitude, embrace joy?
By faith alone.
Only because of Jesus.
I have waxed and waned in my trust and hope. But in the waxing moments, the extraordinary power and presence of Jesus in the midst of my circumstances has provided me recollection enough to pursue him when my faith wanes. Those memories remind me that faith is not a feeling and that faith does not depend on my emotions.
Jesus’ eternal love, his merciful grace, his omnipotent presence do not depend on my emotions.
Faith just is. Jesus is, was, always will be.
And I am more than thankful that none of it depends on me. On my ability. On my strength. And I remain more than thankful that Jesus has revealed himself to me in mighty and powerful ways in past moments. Moments of despair and desperation and moments of jubilance and celebration.
Which is why, in a circumstance of betrayal and deception, in a circumstance that would cause many to pause and consider walking away, I choose to stay where I am. I choose to believe that God will cause all things to work together for good. I choose to focus on, to cling to God’s promises and trust his providence.
Love is a choice. Marriage is not easy. Both require much from those who choose to enter into them. And to whom much is given, much will be expected. And I have indeed been given much: two amazing little girls and an amazing husband. Is he flawed? Absolutely. Because he is human. I, too, am flawed.
But that’s where Jesus enters in. In fact, that is why Jesus entered in. Why he came into the world as a lowly babe. Born a child and yet a King. A King to enter into our lives. To enter into our hearts.
To enter into our brokenness and make us whole. Including a broken, flawed marriage. Such knowledge is to wonderful for me. But it is beautiful. And it is truth.
It likely will not make sense to the world. Faith rarely does. But fortunately, what Jesus has done, what Jesus does, what Jesus will do, does not rely on what the world thinks or believes or perceives.
Because Jesus is, was, always will be. And that is the miracle of Christmas for me.
Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.