When the happiest time of the year isn’t.

“…I will never leave you nor forsake you…” (Heb. 13:5).  If you believe the Bible and honestly believe it is the inspired Word breathed out by the Almighty God, then this is one of the most comforting verses.  I think we can all agree there are times when the future looks particularly bleak.  Times when your finances are not doing so well, you lose a job you need, your marriage has run into onto some rocky ground, a friendship you cherished suddenly ended, or someone you love gets taken from this life.  The joy we are supposed to feel in the happiest time of the year is stolen from us, and we are left with nothing but despair.  At times like that, you may throw up your hands in the air and exclaim, “Why?”  Firstly, if you are suffering one or more of those kinds of difficulties, I want to tell you that millions of us are praying for a solution or your pain to ease.  We may not know your name or where you live, but in our prayers, we always ask God to comfort those who are dealing with tragedies in their lives.

I know you presently feel abandoned by God; you may be angry and may even have questioned His very existence, but I am here to tell you, “God has not abandoned you.”  When your strength and resolve have left you, lean on Him to restore you.  Read the words of scripture we started and ended with this morning often and let them sink in.  Remember the stories of the characters in the Bible who thought God had abandoned them only to realize there was something much better ahead for them.  Now, please, I am not minimizing your grief if you have lost someone; I, too, will spend this Christmas without a cherished one, but I believe that God took him as part of a plan that is beyond my understanding at the moment.  On the way home from picking up my son and daughter from the airport, she received a call from her “ex-boss” to say the company had met with financial disaster and they were all being let go.  So, while I have the loss to deal with, she has to cope with two trials at one time.  No matter if you are dealing with one, two, or even more tragedies, please do not lose your faith in Him.  Rightfully grieve because it is part of the healing process, but don’t let grief or anger remove you from the presence of God.

Try and understand that there is a much bigger plan than we could fathom.  Thank God for the lessons learned, the time we were fortunate to spend with someone, and His embrace of your loved one who is no longer hurting.  Trust God to open new opportunities for you, to give you the courage and wisdom to restore damaged relationships, and to bear your burden of agonizing loss with you until you can smile again.  Allow God to grow you through those trials and increase in faith as a result.  I cannot always answer the “Why?”; no one can, but we can tell you that nothing happens outside the will of God, even when it seems to have.  “’ For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways’ declares the Lord.  ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9).

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