Oh holy night…the words fade softly into the dark surrounding me. It is 3:00am and I am sitting here on the couch enveloped in the soft glow of lights from the Christmas tree perched in the corner. I am welcoming the advent of this day earlier than most but it seemed more prudent to wrestle in the warm glow here rather than with my bed and blankets.
Holidays seem to accentuate the emotions I feel. Even resurrecting ones I have long thought were buried.
Lately, I have felt their familiar tug on my heart and soul.
But tugging nonetheless
These feelings can be challenging to explain when you can’t attach words. When they hang heavy in your heart and mind but only to be felt and not to be named – they hide not in denial but rather linger as the reminder, the thorn in the side.
Too often, I try and ignore their presence for whatever good that is. Here and now, I am welcoming them in to sit with me.
The stars are brightly shining…and so are the lights on my tree. As I wrestle with my heart, my feelings, I am reminded of the words of Brennan Manning, “The unwounded life bears no resemblance to the Rabbi.” I begin to wonder if what I have long wrestled with is the desire to be free of wounds – in whatever form – as if a wound free life was more holy. I grapple with the sovereignty of God and His inerrant goodness in my reality of thorns and wounds. I struggle with the One who can change circumstances but doesn’t.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining…I understand the fall of man. I understand the state of sin and its consequences. Yet I wonder why I seek to be wound free as the badge of faith and favor. As if suffering itself is a testimony of the lack of either. Why pray tell do I think I shouldn’t suffer when even He, who appeared so my soul could feel its worth, did so willingly.
Does my continued pain make Him any less a Savior?
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices…How do I hold tight to the stories of Lazarus, Peter’s mother in law, the sick slave, the many lepers or the bleeding woman and let go of the suffering that doesn’t seem to let go of me. How do I rejoice in my weary, wounded self?
At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it.
Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn…
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen.
I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift.
Fall on your knees…
It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness.
Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size …
I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
(2 Corinthians12:8-10 Message)
So, in this latest of night, when the darkness is bathed in the soft glow of hope, Paul’s example becomes my song. My wounds become my strength.
And this becomes…a night divine