Hope. There is a lot of talk about hope this time of year. Maybe it’s because of the big post-Christmas let down; the “undecorating”, the “uncelebrating”, and the” unfun” return to reality. From Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, a barrage of overindulgence, false hopes and complete gluttony take over otherwise sensible folk. Why do we, and when I say we, I mean I, succumb to this year after year? It’s no wonder hope is on the forefront! The post holiday plummet has put us down. We long to go back up. We hope to.
No doubt, some of us actually talked about Jesus, and even used Christmas to teach our loved ones about salvation. How 2000+ years ago, although not on December 25th, God gave the perfect gift to this fallen world, as promised in His Old Testament Word. All who believe are saved to an eternity of heaven with Him. That is Great News! Unfortunately, it becomes secondary in most homes to the pagan parts of the Christmas holiday. While this is where our focus should be, it oftentimes ends up in the glitter and the stuff instead.
I have heard the words, “If you feel far away from God, who moved?” Hmmm. We know He is a constant in an ever changing world. He does not move. The roller coaster life that we choose in search of happiness and security with all its highs and lows does not change God. It only changes our proximity to Him. If we ride the crazy train long enough, we will eventually arrive at crazy town! There we find out that the ride has been fruitless. There is no joy in seeking worldly pleasure. If we ride instead the rails of evenness and surety and trust God as our engineer, the highs and lows may come, but not so drastically. He navigates for us. The ride is smoother, calmer and even more predictable.
This year, instead of seeking the highs, I will strive to be content. While the highs and lows will show up, I vow to not incur unnecessary pressure on myself to achieve worldly happiness. The apostle Paul says in his letter to the Philippians “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
I want joy, not happiness. I seek contentment, not elation. I will trudge a steady pace with a Master guide, trusting that this journey will be fulfilling and amazing just like Him! Through Jesus Christ, I have forgiveness and new life. I have not only hope, but a promise!
(Someone needs to remind me to read this in November! :))
But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
Lord God, help me this week to turn from this world and its influence. Help me to keep my eye on the prize and remain content as I wait upon You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.