Monday, December 14, 2009

Where Are You Looking?

For many people the holiday season is especially difficult. Perhaps this is the first Christmas without your spouse, children or parents. Perhaps this Christmas is a difficult one because the economic downturn has had a deep impact on your family. To add to the hardship, I think people feel bad when they worry others will see them as “the person we have to contain our joy around because we know they’ve had it rough this year”. Most people don’t want their tragedy or difficulty to define them, but they feel more now than ever that people are watching them because of this circumstance. So, there is no way to get around the fact that the holidays are a difficult time for many.

God’s perfect word gives us real pictures of people facing difficult circumstances. Psalm 63 wasn’t written for Christmas, but David wrote it during a time when he knew the reality of hardship. I believe you’ll be able to identify with him in this psalm if you will listen for a moment. He says, “My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”

We long for satisfaction. We look in a thousand different places for it. We desire joy. We lie in our bed or sit on the couch and long for strength and help. David did the same. Where did he look? He looked to God. He saw God as the One who would ultimately bring deliverance and healing. He knew that when he stayed close to God’s “wing” he would find the support he needed so desperately.

What does this longing sound like? Perhaps like a simple prayer saying, “God, please help me get through this family gathering without totally breaking down.” Or maybe it sounds like, “God, please help me appreciate the past, but not be stuck there. Help me be thankful for what you have provided for me today.” Friend, as David has said, I will recommend and pray that you will desire to cling to God and seek His strength if you find that the holidays are not so merry and bright. God knows where you are. He doesn’t waste our hurts, but desires to draw closer to Him through them. In the wake of your pain, where are you looking?

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