“The thwarting of strategy is an invitation for God to do a deeper work of character.”
It may seem counter-intuitive to consider church history in any discussion of outbreak, pandemic, or plague; we live in an era of hazmat suits, microbiology, and gallons of gelatinous hand sanitizer. But while our approach to disease containment and pathology is far different than you would find in rural Germany in the 1500’s, there is profound wisdom and perspective in reflecting on the posture of faith communities in our past.
And so you teach me:
Certainty has become my idol.
That looks like faith to me:
I ask, knowing that you can.
“Ruth’s life is not living up to her expectations. She is a childless widow, living in a foreign land, dependent on the favor of strangers. Enter the Redeemer – the one who can rewrite the ending of a story gone wrong, buying back tragedy and making way for restoration.”
“Today, patience is one of the greatest gifts we can give others.”
Are you ready to create the habit of depending on God, whatever the circumstance?
I affirmed something that I had said, from the pulpit no less, hundreds if not thousands of times. Something I had quoted in hospital rooms, promised to dying people, swore to college students during pastoral care times, and clung to during some of my darkest and scariest moments. Yet, as I was staring at my wife, who three days before had been diagnosed with what we were told was Stage 3 breast cancer, I no longer had his praise in my lungs, or on my lips.
I am now learning to grieve. And my Dad isn’t here to teach me. C.S. Lewis noted after the death of his wife that he didn’t know grief felt so much like fear. The fear I have is that I won’t grieve – or that I won’t grieve well. I have had my tears, but what is grief supposed to look like? How will I know I’ve grieved?
“We are not only impoverished in love; our loves are disordered, out of alignment. We can attempt to cushion them as much as we want; only realigning misplaced joints will relieve the pain, though.”
As Christians, we bear the light and allow it to shine through us so it may be offered to a world hungry for reconciliation and peace. We offer it to one another when times get rough and the waiting gets long. Sometimes, it gets so very long and can feel very desperate. Our response as Christians is not to brush the wait and darkness aside with simplistic answers and sound bite advice. We are not supposed to solve the problems others face but step into the darkness with others, offering the light we possess that Christ offered us. That is the participation we are called to during Christmas. O come, all you faithful ones.