People all around us are hurting for one reason or another, and Christmas can bring out some intense loneliness and bitterness. I joined a support group recently and have appreciated finding that others are going through what I’m enduring. There’s a whole world out there I knew nothing about until I got sick. Now that I’m experiencing it, my whole life looks different than it did six months ago. Most of it I don’t like. Some of it has devastated me and my family. Part of it may kill me. And I really don’t understand much of it.
I do know that God allows us to be in places where we can help others through their suffering because we have suffered. One person in the group wrote how she is really struggling with the Christmas season in light of her difficult 2016. She posted something that I could — and I’m sure we all could relate to. Then, I read this incredibly share-worthy response from a pastor’s wife who is sick from mold exposure in the parsonage. (Talk about someone who has a right to feel like a victim!) It encouraged me so much that I wanted to share it.
(The following is an edited excerpt of the pastor’s wife’s share-worthy comment. To protect her privacy, I won’t share this lovely woman’s identity. God knows her, though. Would you say a prayer for her?)
“…As I struggle this Christmas, I can relate to Mary & Joseph who were misunderstood (unwed, but pregnant), who needed a place to live (no room in the inn), and who left everything behind (in Nazareth) when they fled to Egypt to save their Son’s life. It wasn’t family who came to their financial aid, but magi. At times I am tempted to be angry at God–I mean, He could have prevented our homelessness, our total loss, 6 plus years of health problems, huge debt, etc. Then, I remember that Jesus understands the fear of homelessness: He said that He had no place to call His own or to rest His head. I remember that my wrong doings caused His horrible death! I remember that by the time Jesus died, the only possessions He had to be divided among Roman soldiers were His clothes. (Even I have more than one outfit now.) Plus, Jesus promises never to leave me; that nothing can separate me from His love; that He will give me a peace & joy that passes human understanding; that He will forgive my sins and allow me to spend eternity with Him in heaven if I ask Him to become my Lord and Savior; that He will not waste my tears and sorrow but instead use this suffering for my good; this and SOOO MUCH MORE!! I have wrestled with God, argued with God, and been tempted to give up believing that He is a good Father, but when the tears settle and I listen to His voice and look for His fingerprints on my life, I see that although this has been horrible — and not His chosen will — He is using it to deepen my trust in Him. I can look back and see ways He provided and protected. And even though people I thought should have stepped forward and helped didn’t, because of His love for me, I can forgive and love them… I am the last person qualified to judge others or I must face the same judgment. If I want grace, I need to show it to others. This year, we’re celebrating Christmas without much–no tree, lights, fancy foods, family visiting, cards–just not healthy enough for those things. Something we did do that was a highlight was to purchase 25 food items (one for each day of December) for the local food pantry. We had fun buying our favorite foods that we can’t eat any longer and also baby foods (since it’s celebrating Jesus’ birthday)!”
Now, that’ll preach.
I could get all cliche here and say something like, (imagine my voice getting snarky and mocking here) “Jesus is the greatest Christmas present ever and is the best way to cope with Christmas present.” It’s true, but we don’t need a cliche. No cliche is going to satisfy my level of pain, hurt, confusion, anger, sickness, replenish my bank account, or restore my personal belongings. These are things that only the resurrected Jesus living in me can do and help me overcome through the power of His Holy Spirit.
Maybe you have been done wrong. Maybe you are struggling with depression this holiday season and don’t see the point. Believe me, I get it. BUT GOD. He is healer, sustainer, provider, counselor, and He has the final word. One thing I do know: I know that no matter what the struggle is, GOD IS GOD ENOUGH.
May God bless this sweet sister and heal her body completely in Jesus’ matchless Name. May my God supply all of your NEEDS according to His riches in glory. My God IS God enough. ❤✝️