I love walking in the snowfall. Seeing the beauty of the trees glistening from the sparkle of the snowflakes. The quiet hush that comes as the flurries blanket the sounds of the world. And the great peace that comes in the quiet moments. Where the world is veiled in a soft stillness. A peace that settles upon my heart and invites me to seek out the Lord. My Savior, who offers a peace that transcends all understanding. The Advent season is more than just a time to exchange gifts and gather with family. It’s a celebration of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. Whose birth ushered in a transformative tranquility for our restless hearts. As we gather around the manger in awe and gratitude, we are reminded that the ultimate gift God’s peace. It’s a refuge where our hearts can find rest. An anchor in the storms of life. A peace given to us by the One who came to reconcile, comfort, and bring everlasting serenity to a world in need.
Does it feel like life is one big waiting room? Waiting to see the doctor. Waiting in line at the grocery store. Waiting for next available representative. Over the course of a lifetime, we spend almost fours years waiting. Normally we wait without giving it a second thought. But when we’re hurting, when we desperately need a victory, the waiting becomes painfully unbearable. That’s how the Israelites felt as they endured suffering while awaiting their promised Messiah. The advent season is all about waiting. And the importance of trusting in God, in His timing and promises. But although waiting isn’t easy, we can find comfort knowing we never wait in vain. Nor longer than God intends. And He always blesses our faithfulness greater than we could ever imagine. So as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and await His glorious return, this Advent season invites us to share in the joy of God’s gift to humanity. And find comfort knowing the pain of waiting is nothing compared to the awesome goodness God has in store for us.
Christmas, with its peace on earth and good will to men, is a time of twinkling lights and festive joy. A time when we celebrate the birth of our Messiah, Jesus Christ. And among the celebration are the beautiful names given to our Lord and Savior. Names including, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Each name encapsulates a promise that fills our hearts with expectation and assurance. “Wonderful Counselor” embodies the wisdom that will guide us. “Mighty God” assures us of His unmatched strength. “Everlasting Father” conveys the enduring, nurturing love He extends. “Prince of Peace” heralds the arrival of a profound tranquility that transcends all understanding. In the anticipation of hope, these names become beacons. Guiding our hearts toward the fulfillment of God’s promise. A Savior whose very essence is a source of unending hope and salvation. And the true meaning of this joyous season.
1 Peter 2:20
When bad things happen as a result of something we did, we understand the consequences that follow. But sometimes bad things happen when we’ve done everything right. And in those times instead of asking why, we need to accept that although not every challenge is earned, every challenge is an opportunity for spiritual growth. This calls for a unique form of endurance. One that perseveres in hope, even amid undeserved suffering. When we embrace hope in these moments, it becomes an act of profound trust. One that acknowledges God’s plan may transcend our immediate understanding. And that enduring with faith can lead to a deeper connection with His divine purpose. It’s an invitation to walk in the footsteps of Christ, who Himself endured unjust suffering. To find solace in the enduring hope that the Lord recognizes and honors such steadfast perseverance. And one He will wipe away every tear we cry, (Rev. 21:4), and replace our sorrow with everlasting joy!
If there’s anyone who knows adversity, it’s Job. He lost everything. His family, his wealth, and his health. A once prominent man, he became a laughing stock to those around him. Yet through it all, Job maintained an unwavering trust in God. And against those who told himself otherwise, he refused to curse the Lord. Even in the depths of his despair. His resilience is a testament to a steadfast spirit anchored in the belief that God’s purpose and mercy always prevail. Job’s enduring faith, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, serves as an enduring example of unwavering hope amid trials. It speaks to the transformative power of difficulties. Because during trials there lies an opportunity to witness the compassionate and merciful nature of the Lord. That’s why James encourages us to anchor our hope in the understanding that endurance, guided by faith, reveals the profound purposes of a compassionate and merciful God.
1 Corinthians 9:24
I’ve always admired those who run marathons. The dedication, training, and sacrifice it takes to finish the race is impressive. All done with the goal of taking home the victory. The Christian life is like training for a marathon. It requires steadfast endurance and an unwavering hope in the ultimate prize. That prize being eternal life with God. The call to “run that you may obtain” emphasizes the need for perseverance in the face of obstacles. Meaning that the journey of faith is not without challenges. But by anchoring our hope in the promises of God and enduring through life’s trials, we not only run the race but also attain the reward of a deeper, more meaningful connection with our faith. Hope becomes the driving force that sustains us, while endurance becomes the steady rhythm that propels us forward on our spiritual journey. Both working together to push us towards our goal. The goal being not only to win the prize, but to run the race with endurance, strength, character, faith and grace.
Having a hopeful spirit is like carrying a lantern through the dark. It not only lights the way, but also illuminates the possibility of brighter days ahead. That’s why James encourages us to endure life’s challenges with a hopeful spirit. So we can be, “perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” Meaning although we might not handle every situation perfectly, through Christ, we have all we need to handle it with spiritual and emotion maturity. And because we lack nothing, we have a contentment and fulfillment that goes beyond material possessions. One that’s rooted instead in a deep and enduring connection with our faith and our purpose. We can view challenges as opportunities for growth, ultimately leading to a more enriched and meaningful life. One where we not only endure, but thrive. Where we are strengthened by adversity, our purpose becomes clearer, and we can navigate whatever life throws at us with wisdom and grace.
I read once that during times when our faith is tested and our convictions tried, Christians can find not only endurance but a radiant hope that shines brighter than the flames of adversity. How? By holding fast. To hold fast means to grasp firmly, to maintain a secure and unyielding grip on something. And as the days grow darker, gripping tightly to God is the best place for us to be. To stay rooted in His promises, allowing our hearts to be filled with enduring hope. Leaning on the Lord and His strength so we can preserve with steadfast faith, no matter what we face. Confidently we can stay the course because our endurance is sustained by the faithfulness of God. Ruler and Creator of all things. And the only One who holds the future. So we can boldly keep on declaring our faith in Jesus Christ. Keep on sharing the truth of His Word, and live a life that’s a beautiful testimony to the world and glorifies the Lord.
1 Peter 4:12
Through an intense and transformative force, fire removes impurities from precious metals. Such are the intense trials we face in life. If we let them, they have the ability to purify our hearts, strengthen our resolve, and deepen our reliance on God. But the purification process is hard, and often times painful. Yet even though Jesus tells us trials are inevitable, He also tells us we don’t suffer in vain. That’s why we can endure any challenge grounded in hope. Because we know our trials become a refining fire, shaping our character and deepening our faith. Through the refining flames of adversity, our impurities are burned away. Impurities like doubt, fear, and self reliance. Like a precious gem, we become beautifully purified. Shining with a renewed strength and enduring faith. This turns trials from stumbling blocks into stepping stones. Ones that let us embrace challenges with a hopeful and enduring spirit. For each one comes with the great purpose of shaping us into the glorious image of our Savior!
Just as an anchor secures a boat in the midst of turbulent waters, anchoring to God provides stability and security in the difficulty of life’s challenges. Anchored to God keeps us grounded in unwavering faith and divine principles, and prevents us from drifting away from the Lord. But to be so grounded in the Lord means cultivating a deep reverence for all God is, does, and blesses us with daily. It involves acknowledging His sovereignty and cherishing the hope found in His steadfast love. As we navigate life’s challenges, this awareness becomes a source of enduring strength. Our hope is not in our own capabilities or in the uncertainties of the world but in the constancy of God’s love. This invites us to place our trust in the Lord, embracing the assurance that His loving gaze sustains and empowers us to endure, regardless of the circumstances we face. Being anchored to God stabilizes the soul, providing a firm foundation for navigating the unpredictable seas of life. It’s a grounding force that provides stability, strength, and a sense of purpose.