I was really saddened this morning to hear about the shootings in Connecticut. It’s hard to understand how something like that can happen, and it’s hard to imagine what the holidays will forever be like for those families whose children or spouses were killed. How does life go on? What can we hold on to in dark times like this? How does Christmas fit in to these devastating days that we sometimes live through? I want to share 10 truths to hold on to during hard holiday times.
10. Jesus knows. There’s nothing that He hasn’t felt.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. -Hebrews 4:15-16
9. Jesus experienced deep pain and suffering as well. He cried, He pleaded with God, He passed sleepless nights wrestling through what the Father had appointed.
8. Jesus knows how to turn sorrow into joy. Not today, but it will come.
You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy . . . So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. -John 16:20, 22
Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. -Jeremiah 31:13
7. God blesses through suffering.
For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. -1 Peter 2:19
6. You don’t have to control the world, you don’t have to right the wrongs. You can rest in God during times of dire sorrow.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. -Matthew 11:28
5. Sorrow isn’t a sin.
4. You aren’t alone. Hundreds of people have experienced your pain and sorrow. You haven’t been singled out for hard times.
3. You will smile again. In time.
2. This world is not the sum total of our lives. There is more.
1. We are part of a greater storyline. A story of pain, anger, mercy, grace, and redemption. God has faithfully carried the story this far, and He will continue to do so. The story doesn’t always make sense to us, but that is because it isn’t about us, it’s about Him. Trust, cry, pray, cry, wait, listen, and hope.
My heart goes out to the families in Waterbury, and the families affected by Sandy this year, and the families still reeling from the war in Iraq, and the families who have been afflicted by unexpected illness, and the families in Aurora, CO who are never going to be the same again.