When It’s NOT the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

standard December 4, 2018 4 responses

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or is it?

Psychology Today reported that up to 45% of Americans tend to dread this festive holiday season. This high percentage is somewhat shocking, but at the same time it’s not.

Life keeps moving along whether it’s Christmas time or not and we all have things that we’re dealing with. For some it may be financial issues, work deadlines, broken relationships, or maybe even the loss of a loved one.  It could be that the thought of spending the holiday season alone is downright unbearable and it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

However, you have a God who knows this ache in your heart. He sees you and is concerned about you. He is there to wrap you in His faithful love and He whispers in your ear that you are not alone.

If this is how you are feeling this holiday season, allow the words of Psalm 36 to come as a healing balm to your aching soul.

God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of your wings. In Your light we see light.

While it may not feel like the most wonderful time of the year for some of you in this moment, believe that your God is still faithful. Find refuge in His presence. Turn your face toward the Light.

No Darkness at All

standard October 22, 2018 2 responses

Have you ever been in an unfamiliar place while it was pitch black dark?

Think about how you felt in that moment. Maybe you were scared, nervous, insecure.

Now think about how it made you feel as soon as light flooded your eyes and you could see your surroundings. Did you exhale a big sigh of relief?  

Now let’s take a moment to link that physical experience to the spiritual side of our lives. Think of a time when you were in a dark place emotionally and spiritually in your life.  Did you feel as if the light had left you?

Were you able to experience the light overcoming the darkness?  How did it feel to have that flicker of light return to your life?  

If you have not yet felt the light in your current situation, offer up a prayer right now for Jesus’ light to enter into your situation.  

1 John 1:5 says,

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”

Believe it, dear friend! Where God is, there is no darkness.  Your situation may seem dark and gray at the moment, but you serve a God who defeated the grave and He will do the same for you.

Where there is light, there is also hope.

And in that place, there is no darkness at all.

Praising Through the Pain

standard October 9, 2018 4 responses

There are few things that move me to tears on a regular basis, but worship is definitely one of them.  I love to come together with other believers and offer the Lord my praise and worship with hands held high, singing with all my might.  When I think about God’s faithful love toward me, grateful tears automatically spring up inside me.

But there have also been times in my life when the tears have come from a place of pain.  I can distinctly remember standing in a worship service just months after my younger brother had died in a tragic car accident with my hands hiding my face as I uncontrollably sobbed into them.  The sanctuary was filled with beautiful voices singing “It Is Well with My Soul,” and I could not physically open my mouth to sing in that moment. I wondered if I would ever feel like praising again.

But as a faithful Savior so sweetly does, He wrapped His arms around me and began to heal my broken heart. Week by week I kept returning to worship and before long I was able to sing a little bit more, yet still with hot tears flowing down my cheeks. As the weeks turned into months, my desire to praise my Creator had returned and even though I was still grieving, I knew that my hope would always be in Him.  

Psalm 42 gives voice to this so perfectly by asking these very raw and real questions, “Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me?” But then answering with, “Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.”

Life can be cruel sometimes. It threatens to leave us in a great state of turmoil and utterly depressed, believing that we’ll never be able to sing praise again. But if we allow ourselves to grieve properly and hold fast to our Savior, before long we’ll find that we are able to praise Him even through the pain.

It has been over fifteen years since I lost my brother and I can tell you that I am once again exuberantly worshiping my God.  The tears still fall from time to time, but they’re mostly due to my gratitude for all that He’s done for me. I will forever put my hope in the One who saved me, my faithful God.