I'm so aware this is a difficult time of year for many. Christmas of 2010 presented us with unbelievable challenges. In fact, a friend who knew all the circumstances said, "I don't know what else can happen to your family." Just a few days after the post below was written in December of 2010 my husband was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer, as we continued to deal privately with another situation equal to the cancer in difficulty and threat. We relied on God's grace, and the kindness and prayers of others to traverse those very deep waters.
Today, three years later, we find my husband's tests showing no cancer. The other situation has also seen a miraculous touch of God in ways that I'd love to share, but it is still someone else's story to tell at this point. But I'll say this, it is an extraordinary accounting of God's working behind the scenes in ways I could have neither scripted nor anticipated. We are so grateful and well aware that our outcome could be very different. I'd like to think our hearts would still be full of praise.
So, if you're struggling in the midst of difficulty this Christmas, I pray the scriptures below speak to you as they did to us during our dark time and help light your present night, as well.
I make several out of the way detours at Christmas to take in the lights in our town. Workers spend many hours winding strands around the gingko trees, which line the streets. Beautiful, don’t you think?
This Christmas has presented our family with the most serious challenges we’ve ever faced—only one of which is a biopsy my husband is having tomorrow. Others I do not have the freedom to write about now. I know many of you face challenges as well. So, I thought I’d share scriptures that have carried me in these last weeks.
Two verses from Ecclesiastes: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” (Ecclesesiastes 3:11). “Anyone who is among the living has hope…” (Ecclesiastes 9:4).
From Philippians: “And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
Isaiah 35:3-6: “Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.”
No matter what else is happening, it's a time to celebrate God sending Jesus to rescue us. In Psalm 77, David lamented his desperate situation for many verses, then he says, “…I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.”
So, I’m meditating on all that God has done for us in Jesus and how he has shown himself mighty through the ages. In particular, I’m rejoicing and giving thanks for His faithfulness to our family for many, many years.
The last words of John Wesley were, “The best of all, God is with us.” Yes, Emmanuel has come to save us, to be with us. That truth lights my world brighter than the gingko trees on any dark December night.