Happy Thanksgiving! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Yeah, I kinda missed all of those here on the blog, but I’m hoping you were much too busy enjoying the holidays with your loved ones to have noticed. Now that we’re all caught up, I wanted to take this post to encourage anyone who needs to be reminded of some truth.
With just a casual perusal of news events in recent months and weeks, it’s easy to feel a lot of fear and anxiety. It’s tempting to lose hope for the situations we see around the world, across the nation, and in our own cities. Terrorism is on the rise and coming ever closer to home. Politics are more divisive than ever. Once-trusted leaders, once-beloved celebrities, and community servants are being exposed as men with dark, horrible secrets. The media, meanwhile, seems to just add fuel to the fire.
Psalm 11:3 says, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” No matter how much the foundations of our society shake and crumble, as Christians, we can stand secure. We must fix our eyes on the Lord, who is still sitting on His throne, as the very next verse reminds us. We do that by spending time seeking Him in His Word and in prayer. The Bible is rich with His promises of His goodness, His compassion, and His protection for His people. It doesn’t mean we stay uninformed and ignorant of how difficult things are around us. It doesn’t mean we walk around staying “too blessed to be stressed” or thinking our “favor” is going to spare us from hard things. All of those are tactics from the enemy to keep us from walking in the true authority and grace that can be ours during hardship and trials.
One of my children was pretty upset Christmas night after a rather scary ride home from Pinson to Pelham through flooded roads and crazy intense lightning. He asked why God allowed such bad weather on such a special day. I told him that God is always good, and His promises are always true. However, sometimes His goodness allows us to experience hard things or scary things because we learn to draw near to Him and trust Him more, which is far better than just always being safe and happy. We prayed through that scary drive home, and we saw God directly answer those prayers that night. We wouldn’t have experienced those answers to prayer, or even recognized our need for God’s provision and protection like we did without that storm.
Read Psalm 91 slowly and meditatively, asking the Holy Spirit to let it soak in deep to your spirit. Read Psalm 56, or Psalm 27, and there are so many other passages throughout the Bible where our good and loving Heavenly Father assures us of His protection. No matter what we face, we can know that He is for us, and that He works ALL things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28), and nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Rom. 8:35). We have an anchor for our souls. I believe that as we learn to trust God’s promises, walking in humility before His Sovereign power and grace, we can be a light and a beacon of hope that will draw the lost and hurting to our Savior, our Rock, our Firm Foundation, Jesus Christ.
If you’ve already endured significant hardship or loss, please do not think God’s truths have failed you. I know that’s tempting when you’re hurting so badly, because I’ve been there. Choose to trust Him even when nothing makes sense. It is very possible to grieve – which I think involves processing all the “whys” that come with grief – and to trust at the same time. God is faithful and you will see His goodness even in places of deep pain and loss.
Well, this is an unusual blog post with which to start off the new year. These are just some thoughts I’ve had through the holiday season, and I felt led to share them with you. Next week, we will pick back up with praying through some of the great nonprofit organizations in the metro-Birmingham area.