The word for this Christmas resonating with me and seen all around me is “HOPE”. Our weather today has been torrential down pour of rain and wind, as I drove away from the mall over in the distance was a big clear rainbow. The storm was clearing and painted in the sky was a rainbow, a promise that God will not destroy the world by water again. It was a beautiful reminder of hope and that when the storms in life come they are not forever. Storms come and go but one thing is certain we experience them. And even more certain – God sees it and is right there with me.
Today’s advent reading was the story of Joseph, specifically honing in on his conversation with his brothers after his father’s death. Joseph had gone through quite the journey. He had been sold to slavery. A house servant. Accused and thrown in jail. Interpreter of dreams. Second in command of all of Egypt and working to prepare for a drought and save Israel and Egypt. You can read the full story in Genesis 37-50.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 (NIV)
This morning when I read the verse 20 the tears spilled over. You see I try and be strong, I try and look for how God is working when life gets rough. God’s grace and love for me is overwhelming. I can not be strong and receive His tender love in the recesses of my heart that need to feel His touch. Isaiah says “For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said “ In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15 NASB) Strength to God and strength to me often don’t look the same. I tend to think that being strong means I have to have it all together, no tears, all the answers, guarded. The verse in Isaiah talks about strength means trusting, being quiet. As we talked about yesterday – to cease striving. I must be still. I must be quiet. I must be vulnerable I must trust that He will and is taking the storms of life and working them for my good.
“The Cross stands as the epitome of evil. If God can transfigure the greatest evil into the greatest Gift, then He intends to turn whatever you’re experiencing now into a gift. You cannot be undone. “ Pg 81 The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp
Joy, being thankful? The places in my heart that hurt, are torn, are crying – they are experiencing God’s amazing grace and love. The storm may seem ugly now, but I believe that God is good & He is not done. Hope believes in the silver lining, the silver lining of grace, peace, healing, and love. That God will use all the torn and messy parts of my life for good. Its easy for us to see how God can use our gifts, our talents, our skills…..its difficult for us to believe that He can use the messy parts.
“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.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)
My prayer is that God meets you right where you are, in whatever or wherever you find yourself in life. That you will experience God’s amazing grace. His powerful, wonderful, and redemptive love. Peace, rest, grace, truth meet you right where you are. Restoring and strengthening your hope that God is good and that he loves you. He has a purpose and a plan for you, for me, for each of us.
Like the rainbow that appeared in the sky by the mall, we experience the clearing of the clouds and the rainbow in our own lives. All around us are beautiful reminders that God is right there with us. Allowing us to smile, a smile that comes from the depths of who we are out for the world to see.
A fun gift/blessing / joy that I see from the window in my office – the lights on the neighbors tree…..doesn’t look very pretty during the day but its beautiful at night. It turns the tree with no leaves into a beautiful expression of the holiday season. Situations in our life can look like that tree – we see barren branches and a string of life – but we need power, we need Jesus to shine His light and make it beautiful. He is making and does make us beautiful, a beautiful reflection of Him.
My challenge to you and I – choose joy, choose to find things to be thankful for.
~ a personal response this Advent Season
Ann Voskamp over at A Holy Experience printables & much more, including the book
Scripture quotations taken from the The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.