by Kim Adetunji, Tyndale Bibles Brand Manager
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Or at least a little. We’ve already had our first snowfall in Chicago, and with mixed emotions, have begun bracing ourselves for the wintery season ahead. Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner, and the holiday season is upon us. Soon we will gather with friends and family to celebrate our gratefulness to God for the blessings in our lives—both grand and small. Then next month loved ones will gather again to celebrate the joy of Christ’s birth, and a week after that we will celebrate the closing of one calendar year and the promise and hope of the new one. It is indeed a wonderful time of the year.
And yet, along with all of the blessings and joy and celebration, many of us are also harboring heartache deep within. We may be going through a very difficult season of life or have recently lost a loved one. It could be that our circumstances aren’t what we’d hoped they would be. Or maybe we are suffering from debilitating depression. Perhaps a relationship desperately needs mending or one has just been painfully severed. These—and so many other heartaches—leave a gap in our hearts, and the ache is palpable.
Yet there is hope in the midst of our heartache. Our hope comes from a powerful God who not only created us but who knows us intimately. He is present with us. He is our comforter. He loves us perfectly. We never have to doubt God’s sovereignty or whether he is in control or if he is good. He is. And he will sustain us through whatever we face.
Over the holidays, there seems to be a keener awareness of the loss, hardships, grief, health battles, financial difficulties, troubled relationships, and other heartaches in our lives. We often long for simpler times—before these difficult realities entered the scene. As we enter into a season of reflection, this can draw a myriad of emotions to the surface. No matter what happened in the previous year or what lies ahead in 2019, each new day is an opportunity for us to put our trust ever more fully in God.
We can choose to embrace all that God has for us in this very moment. It’s certainly a choice. We could harbor resentment or anger in our hearts, or we could stubbornly refuse to turn to God through it, or we could try to numb it with our favorite “numbing” mechanism. It would be a whole lot easier to suppress it, at least in the short term. But why? God is trustworthy. We can open our hearts fully to him and offer him our pain, unknowns, uncertainty, loss, and troubles—all while recognizing the gifts and blessings and favor he has bestowed upon us. We can live in those two realities—joy and heartache—simultaneously. We may not know what tomorrow holds, and we often can’t see the purpose in the pain, but when we hang on to the truth that hope is not lost—that it is real, and present, and available—despite even the worst of circumstances, we can rest in that assurance.
Though the ache may linger, hope is an anchor. We can let hope be the strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls, as Scripture says. It’s not just lip service. It’s the Word of God. Our loving father in heaven knows our hearts—all the valor and all the murkiness that lurks within. He sees each tear that falls, and he hears our deepest heart’s cry even when it is unspoken. Trust him in the midst of whatever storm you are being thrown about in. Draw on the eternal hope that surpasses all understanding.
“Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:18-20).
Let that sink in: This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. An anchor that holds strong through the storm that rages. An anchor that steadies. May you weather the wintery days of your soul with as much beauty and hope and joy and trust as you have on the summery blue skies days of your soul.
Your Bible is already the place you turn to daily for a word from God. Why not record all that you are learning and how you are growing or being challenged or are seeing God’s love and faithfulness in your life in your Bible? You read it consistently—or you strive to—and what better place to capture your faith journey than in a soon-to-be-cherished legacy Bible. If you’re looking for something new to refresh your Bible-reading in 2019, consider getting a New Living Translation journaling Bible.