Empty Christmas boxes were still scattered haphazardly near the tree. Pine needles blanketed the carpet in much the same way. Bits and pieces of stray Santa Claus wrapping paper were tucked just beneath the edges of the furniture. Other than sparse crumbs remaining on the snowman cookie tin, much remained the same as I had left it a week ago.
Except for me. I was not the same. The once anticipated reflections of soaking in the season with soft carols and glowing candles and cups of coffee in the quiet morning hours with my husband while the children still slept, wafted away with the evergreen scent of the tree. Days off, peaceful moments and much needed respite faded with the ending of the carols on Christmas Day.
This so-called-thing-called-life threw a bucket of snow in my family's hearth this season. An unexpected illness and rapid decline of a loved one required something very different from us than lazy mornings by the fireplace, warm pajamas and late night Lifetime movies.
Christmas came. Christmas went. And, I am feeling ripped off. Cheated. Let down. Near the fading colored lights soon after arriving home from 7 days gone, I released pent up anger and guilt, frustration and anguish, grief and disappointment. Through cries and heartache, I wished I could understand it, fix it, redo it, and make up for all that was seemingly lost, not just for myself, but for those even more closely affected than I.
In my desperate attempt to try understand God's timing, I am troubled with the common statement that "everything happens for a reason." And, if there's a reason, then what is it? Maybe,if I knew what the reason was, then just maybe I could move on, deal with it, get over it. What does God's word say?
After finding nothing in the Bible that directly addressed "reasons", I found an interesting article on Christianindex.org. Take it or leave it, this is what they wrote: "How do we answer this question? First, from a literal standpoint, everything does happen for a reason. There is a cause and effect, clearly seen in natural law. The “reason” for happenings may be natural, willful, medical, accidental, or providential, though we must not jump to the conclusion that everything that happens has a providential reason orchestrated or micro-managed by God!"
So, perhaps everything happens for a reason. Perhaps it does not. Maybe one will never know.
Here is what I do know - God made a promise that "you will have trouble in this world." John 16:33. Whether or not there is a "reason" for that trouble, God uses these "unreasonable" events for our good. He uses them to draw us closer, to grow us, to teach us. God uses these things to work them together for our good! Romans 8:28. So, I'm taking my eyes off of searching for a mystery reason and putting them on what I do know: something good can come out of this.
Are you having trouble in this world, dear friend? Perhaps there isn't a steadfast reason. Yet, by chance there is an opportunity for good. YOUR good! What good does God have in store for you in this season? Could it be there is an opportunity to learn? To forgive. To let go. To challenge your stuck thinking. To release bitterness, anger, and resentment. To turn toward Him and away from what has been weighing you down. To give up those things that you use to fill yourself with. It's possible that God wants something from you that you have not been willing to give Him. It could be an invitation from the One who knows you best to draw closer to Him and begin to heal from your own hang ups, painful experiences or lingering hurts.
Friends, I can't "redo" Christmas. But, I can ask the Creator of All Things what good can come from this Christmas if I am willing to allow Him to answer and do the work in my life. Don't let the "mystery reason" for the current season wash into the next. He has something good in store for you. Let go of what you have held on to for so long, sisters. He has something so much greater in store for you that will far surpass those things that you clench in your closed fists.
Pray this with me dear friends:
"Great God, I ask you in the name of Jesus, your Son, who was born to live and to die for me, that you show me what good can come from this unreasonable situation. I implore you, Lord, to open my heart and my mind and my eyes and my ears to what you will reveal to me. I am willing and I am waiting. Father, help me to get out of my own way and let you do an awesome work in my life that is far greater than those things that I have refused to let go of. I release them to you, Lord. I release my ______________________________ and invite you to fill that place instead. In your precious, holy name, Amen."
John 16:33 MSG "I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”