‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’ – Jeremiah 29:11
It’s been one of those seasons – where life happens; and life’s not fair; and it’s a huge, crushing blow. Where you crawl back home, and ask all the why’s, and realize that tomorrow suddenly looks starkly different from how it looked before. And I’ll say that it doesn’t necessarily bring out the best in us – okay, maybe it brings out the worst – the pride, the jealousy, the snarkiness. It’s easy in these moments to venture far too close to hopelessness.
But no. My God – who I’ve put aside, and pushed past, and defied – He says that we are never hopeless. And I get it. It’s hard to make that a part of our reality during these difficult seasons. Putting all of our effort into the happy face and the cheery demeanor – that’s not the point. The point is to hold on to God who brings light into darkness, hope to the hopeless, and rest to the weary – nothing else is enough.
Have I missed it the whole time? Every year? This advent, we’ve walked through Jesus’ family tree. And God’s spelling it out for me. In every step of His story, otherwise hopeless people are handed a leading role. I mean, seriously:
+ Noah – one of the only people left on Earth, floating in a giant homemade boat
+ Sarah & Abraham – elderly, childless, & supposed to be the beginning of a great nation
+ Joseph – sold into slavery by his own brothers
+ Moses – couldn’t speak well, ordered to demand the release of his people from slavery in Egypt
+ Rahab – a prostitute in a city that God ordered His people to destroy
+ Naomi – lost her husband and sons after being forced away from her homeland by famine
…should I go on? These are the people God chose to prepare the way for Christ. I think He’s making a point. And it’s not like this realization makes the hurt go away or resolves all the questions. But it does remind me that there’s more to the story. There’s hope.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.