Wednesday, December 1, 2010
A Grinch Kind of Holiday
It's a running joke in my family about what a Grinch I am. No, I don't set out to ruin the holidays for others...I'm just not a fan. The holidays hold a lot of past pain for me. When I was living at home we didn't get along. The holidays meant no school. So, we were spending more time together...and fighting a lot more. One of my strongest memories of Christmas was a HUGE fight while being forced to put up the Christmas tree.
This year the holidays snuck up on me. I hate that. I can usually prepare for them but my pregnancy brain changed all that this year.
I ended up with a wakeup call from God...in the form of American Family Radio. Have you ever read/heard a Scripture 100 times only to have it mean something totally different on time 101? That's where I was this weekend on the car ride home from Thanksgiving.
John 16:33 reads: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV) Those are the words of Jesus.
When I've read it in the past I focused on the very last part: "Take heart, I have overcome the world." It was uplifting and inspiring for me. This time I realized something else...stay with me.
The Word of God is true and God is always true to his word. When people talk about this they're usually referring to the uplifting parts. You know, healing and salvation and whatnot. I realized this weekend that it's not always the "positive" parts that fall into this. Read the Scripture again (the second half).
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Did you catch it? Jesus told us that we'll have trouble in this world. It's spelled out right there.
What does that mean?
We're supposed to rejoice in God's truths, right? That means (you may not like this) we should rejoice when things get rough. Seriously. I'm not saying that God is sitting up there purposefully making things hard! I'm saying that sometimes He puts us through tough times to strengthen our faith. Have you heard the song "Praise You in This Storm" by Casting Crowns? It talks about praising God even during the hard times. I like this part:
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
There's another song I like called "Better Than a Hallelujah" by Amy Grant. The chorus goes like this:
We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah
Sometimes the most heartfelt things we say to God come out of hard times.
This holiday season I'm making an effort to thank God when I'm having a rough time. Thank him for being true to his word, even if I don't like it! Will you make that effort with me?