Do you ever wonder why God allows certain things to happen in your life and not others?
Whether our questions to God concern health, job, school, finances, relationships, or home, there are moments which place us at the crossroads of a decision. Personally, as I write this blog I am in just such a moment as I have come down with a bug that has hit me hard.
In my illness, I have been having the biggest pity party Phelps County has ever seen. Ask my wife, she can attest to this; I am not a good patient. I get crabby, not wanting to stand still long enough for my body to fully heal. Here we are, about to enter one of the busiest times of the church year, and as a pastor, it is not the ideal time to get sick. When the sickness hit, it hit hard! I tried to push through to get one more message started, one more phone call made, one more meeting held, one more blog planned, one more chapter read. Then I was hit with what felt like a mac truck of fever, sore throat, body aches, tiredness, swollen glands, and a cough that won’t seem to go away. Do you feel sorry for me yet? You may even be thinking, “Do you want a little cheese to go with that wine?” As I was heading to a meeting at church I could feel fever chills and shaking begin to make their way through my body. I told the group I was not feeling well and thought it best if I were to go home. I proceeded to head out to my truck in the wet, cold night, pulled myself in and started the engine. My body just shook as I had to take a few moments just to sit, waiting to regain enough composure to drive home.
As I sat in the church parking lot I thought to myself, “How dumb?” Why do I push myself to this point? Was I prepared for this moment? Why now God?
Soon I arrived at home and immediately hit vitamin C, drank a bunch of fluids, and laid down for as much rest as I could get. In my heart I kept wanting to cry, “Getting sick is not on ‘MY’ schedule to happen right now, especially as we are about to enter the Christmas season! Why now God?”
Once I finished my pity party and had a few moments to reflect, God’s Word of truth came crashing in and I was reminded yet again that it is not our place to ask God why. He uses the everyday moments of life as tools to make us stronger in our trust and dependence on Him. The focus of our life should not be about what we want, but rather, should strive to center on what God desires, keeping in mind that the great “I AM” is with you in the midst of the things that stand before us at any given moment. All in God’s time, not ours. The truth is, it is not for us to know the answers to the “where” or “why” questions of life, but through it all to proclaim along with Job, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)
We are beginning a season of the church year called Advent, held during the month of December. The word advent originates from the Latin meaning, “coming, arrival,” which is fitting since it is a season dedicated to our preparation for the “advent”, or coming, of our king as baby Jesus who is born in a manger. It is a special time of year celebrated as a way to help us refocus our attention on preparing to meet with God in His coming to dwell with us in human form. He came to a little town called Bethlehem as a baby named Jesus who would grow up to one day die a painful death on a cross in order to make a way for us to have a relationship with God the Father.
Advent is important because it is a time set aside each year for us to look inward at our own lives to ask some of the deeper questions of life: Where is God? Am I prepared to meet Him?
The truth is, He is in the midst of the messes of our life, piercing its darkness with a baby’s shrill cry. All of creation waited with bated breath for this single moment of history, happening in of all places, a stable. The King of Kings of the entire universe was born into a world that didn’t have room for Him. From His entry into the world as flesh the message was clear, “There’s no room in the inn.” Little has changed some 2,000 years later, has it?
So, where is God? Listen to how a man named John answers this question:
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. … He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. – John 1:1, 10-14
The Word, who is Jesus Christ, has become flesh among us! He is our Emmanuel, meaning, “God with us,” at work to lead His people toward an incredible future for those who call upon and believe in His name. It is a future that finds its humble beginnings in a stable with some sheep, hay, and a loving mother and father. It is not a moment one would expect, but it is the most excellent thing anyone could have ever hoped for!
So I am going to grab a tissue, a cough drop, and thank God for this moment I am in, sickness and all, because God who is the great “I AM” is with me, preparing me through this momentary time for a future life in Him of eternal significance. That is the story of Advent, God preparing us, His beautiful bride for a future life with Him. Joy to the world the Lord has come!
Advent is here! Are you ready?