Christmas is coming. Do you love Christmas? I do.
One of the things I love most about Christmas is the buildup; the anticipation. We don’t just carry on with our everyday lives and then wake up one morning surprised to find that it’s Christmas; w prepare for it, we decorate. I love the songs and the excitement—the holiday cheer.
I love to celebrate Christmas, and remember the first Christmas so long ago. But Christmas wasn’t just a moment in time, it’s something deeper, something more than a moment.
2 Peter 3:8 says, “do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” Jesus transcends time.
At Christmas, we remember the story of Christ’s birth, but we also celebrate who He is and what He has done.
Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace (Is 9:6).
I don’t know where this holiday season finds you, but I need to remember that. I’ll be candid and let you know that life in the Hart house has been rough this year. Between car problems, financial difficulties, hospital stays, and too many other hardships to count, I was in tears last Tuesday morning. Which got me thinking about a woman from the Bible.
Jesus is the Answer
For the past twelve years the woman had been bleeding, and that made her an outcast. Still, she heard the whispers. There was a man who could heal anything. Because of Him, paralytics walked, lepers were healed, the blind could see, and the dead were raised. She had heard the stories and she believed each and every one of them.
He was the answer to the desire of her heart. He could make her well. Yet she was an outcast. Who was she to approach the Messiah? Nobody.
As the stories swirled around her, one day she heard that Jesus was coming. He was surrounded by a huge crowd, but that was fine with her. All she needed to do, was to get close enough to touch Him. She knew that with as powerful as He was, that is all she needed. So, weaving through the crowd, that’s what she did.
She made her way to Jesus and reached out and touched Him. And it worked. Instantly the woman was healed. She could feel it. And so could Jesus, but he didn’t let her just walk away. He stopped everything to acknowledge her faith.
“Who touched me?” He asked, and the woman startled. She knew she wasn’t worthy, but it was done. What would He say when He found out that it was just her? She had no right to be there.
Jesus waited for her to come forward, but He already knew. That’s the thing about Jesus: He doesn’t heal those who deserve it, because none of us do. But He loves us so much, He still wants us to come.
And that’s where I was last week. It was bad, but I knew I needed to get to Jesus. I knew He was the answer.
Count Your Blessings
Have you ever had one of those days where you just wondered how it could get any worse… and then it did? That was my Monday last week.
I should start by telling you that I have been having migraines for the past several months. I spent almost two weeks in the hospital over the summer with the worst migraine you can imagine, and I have woken up virtually every morning since with a headache to one degree or another. And they usually get worse as the day goes by.
So, Monday morning I was in the city for an EEG. I live in a super small town about an hour away, so I had went grocery shopping and I was just getting ready to head out-of-town when my husband called. He was also in the city for a doctor’s appointment, and his car had broken down. He was stranded at the service station and didn’t know what to do. The repair was going to cost thousands of dollars that we didn’t have, he needed to be across town for his appointment, and he hadn’t even eaten lunch yet because he came straight from work.
Praise God, I was still in town. Whenever things go wrong, you just have to count your blessings, so that’s what we did. And God worked it out.
I went and picked him up. My mother-in-law who was with me bought us lunch, and then we took him to his appointment. And then things got worse.
When Bad Gets Worse
He had hurt his back at work just over a month ago and we have had nothing but trouble getting him to the doctor. We keep getting referred from one doctor to another. But this doctor straight up freaked out.
Have you ever had a doctor freak out? I hadn’t, but this one did.
He couldn’t believe that my husbands back was as bad as it was and thought he should have had emergency surgery as soon as it happened. But since he hadn’t, we should go to the ER and they would transfer us to Dallas because no one in the smaller city we were in could do the surgery.
So off to the ER we went. A little frightened, but still trying to count our blessings because that’s what keeps us sane.
The doctor had mentioned that the slightest thing could paralyze my husband from the waist down, so we were thankful that we were finally getting somewhere.
Only we weren’t.
After two hours in the ER, the nurse practitioner on call, gave my husband some pain killers and muscle relaxers and sent us home. She said if the injury was a month old, it obviously wasn’t an emergency, and he could just see a surgeon here in town next week. We could call his office in the morning to set up an appointment.
So, we drove home with mixed emotions, warm groceries, and a vehicle short, still trying to count our blessings. Our church family had stepped in. They had picked our kids up from school since I couldn’t make it home in time. Our pastor was at my son’s basketball game and brought him home when it was over. Our oldest was old enough to watch our younger kids until we made it home. And our church family was willing to step up completely if we had needed them to. They were already working out plans for who could take the kids to school in the morning if we had to go to Dallas for surgery, and who knows what else. God has most certainly blessed us.
The Proverbial Straw…
And then Tuesday morning came around. You know that proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back? That was Tuesday morning.
The doctor’s office the ER referred us to wouldn’t take my husband as a patient because he needed a referral the hospital didn’t provide. The workers comp that was supposed to be paying for everything, decided that this probably wasn’t a work injury and threatened not to cover it.
After spending all day Monday trying to keep my chin up, it was just more than I could take, so I sat down and cried.
I knew we were blessed, but I just couldn’t handle it all. It was too much.
And now we are right back where we started. I go to the doctor Tuesday morning for an EMG and hopefully to find out some answers about what’s causing my headaches, and my husband sees the neurosurgeon Tuesday afternoon.
Feel free to pray for us, but I’m not telling you all this so you can feel sorry for us though.
Crying Out to Jesus
This morning at church, the message was about Paul. In the second letter he wrote the Corinthians, Paul talked about a thorn in his flesh. Biblical scholars don’t know what it was, but it was something painful. Paul called it “a messenger of Satan” that harassed him. And the word for harassed isn’t picked on or annoyed, but more like physically assaulting him. It was painful.
He had begged God to take it away three times, but it was still there. As the pastor spoke, I couldn’t help but picture myself sitting in the living room Tuesday morning bawling my eyes out and begging God to just fix it all.
But he didn’t. And He didn’t take away the thorn in Paul’s flesh either. Not because He couldn’t (because He can), but because sometimes we need hardships to help us keep our focus on Jesus.
Reaching for Jesus
The lady from the Bible I mentioned earlier that reached out to be healed, was instantly made well. But Paul was not, and we aren’t always either.
The truth is, Jesus may or may not heal our physical ailments, but He will always heal our hearts when we bring them to Him. When we trust Jesus with our problems, He can move mountains. He can heal our broken hearts and mend our wounds. He can miraculously heal us, or give us peace and strength for whatever lies ahead. All we have to do is reach for Jesus.
And the woman who reached for Jesus isn’t alone. The pages of Scripture are filled with accounts of people who were running to Jesus when He came to town. The people in the Bible had so much faith that they tore through the roof of someone’s home, so they could get their friend to Jesus. I want to have that kind of faith. Not just for myself but for my friends and family. To know that Jesus is the answer no matter what the question is, and whatever hardships come my way.
Which reminds me of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. When they were being cast into the fiery furnace, they said, “our God is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, He can save us, but if He doesn’t we will still worship Him alone.” (paraphrase Daniel 3:17)
God saved them, but they were willing to die if that’s what God wanted. I don’t know the outcome of what lies ahead for my family, but I know I can trust Jesus no matter what comes our way.
Truth be told, I spent the rest of last week beating myself up over the lack of faith I had Tuesday morning. But it wasn’t that I didn’t believe God could handle it, or that I didn’t trust Him with whatever would come, it was just overwhelming.
Which is why when the pastor spoke about Paul crying out to Jesus my soul melted a little bit. It’s okay to cry at the feet of Jesus, ladies. It’s okay to be weak, because when we are weak, then He is strong.It's okay to cry out to Jesus... Click To Tweet
Christmas is Coming
I still don’t know what’s ahead for us, but I love that God can handle it, and that I don’t have to carry the burden alone. As Christmas gets closer, I don’t know if we will be able to afford many presents for our children. I don’t even know if we will spend it at home or in the hospital. If we will be in pain or pain-free, but I know we can still celebrate Jesus.
If I were to focus on all that’s gone wrong just last week alone, I would be in a pit of despair. But Christmas is coming. God sent His Son into the world because He knew we needed a Savior. And Jesus is that Savior. He didn’t just save us from our sins, but He is willing to be our everything. Our refuge, our hope, our peace, and our joy. He is our Creator and our Sustainer. Our closest friend, and Lord of all.
I need that reminder. I know that Jesus is enough, but life is rough. So maybe you need that reminder too. Whatever life has handed you this year, good or bad, I pray that this Christmas season can be a season of joy for you. A season of refocusing your heart on the King of the World. None of us know what tomorrow will bring, but Christmas is coming, and God can fill our hearts with joy and be our refuge all season long.
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