When you’re waiting for important test results to come back…your head can be filled with questions, doubts, and uncertainty. But if you allow the Lord to take you back, He will show you the many times that He carried you through equally tough times. And with each event He brings to mind, your faith and trust grows…for you’ll see where He has worked mightily on your behalf. Jesus tells us in John 14:1, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me.” Total reliance and confidence in the Lord means that we no longer need to question God’s plan or purpose for our lives…for we know with certainty what He’s done for us in the past… will continue into the future.
This verse tells us that even in the midst of suffering…God’s love shines forth and His favor surrounds us as with a shield. (Psalm 5:12) Circumstances can still be dark around us, but people will notice something different…a light shining forth from us, as we steadfastly put our faith and trust in God. Situations may not change, for we live in a broken world…but what can change is our attitude and reaction to them.
Jesus didn’t mince words with the Disciples. He used the phrase, “O you of little faith” many times throughout the book of Matthew in dealing with them. In Matthew 8:26 Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” In Matthew 14:31 He again asked, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Here were men who had witnessed miracle after miracle…bodies made whole, blind eyes receiving sight, dead bodies brought back to life…and they still hesitated to fully trust Jesus. If these men had trouble with their faith, why should it surprise me if I fall short? The Believer’s journey is taking that meager crumb of faith we’re given and growing it day by day…of being open and honest when we doubt…and asking the Lord to help us in our unbelief.
Jesus Christ is that open door, sacrificing His life in order to make a way to God. And it’s only through His death, burial, and resurrection that we have this open door of faith that we can freely walk through. The final sentence in these Scriptures states, “See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” This has to give hope to all that have been praying for a lost love one. No one can shut this door on them. This open door of hope will always be there…standing wide open to welcome them in.
For Mary, this was her first baby…and for the world, it was likewise a new beginning. For Mary, it was her first labor and delivery in rather dismal conditions.. for us, it was the gift of a new start. It tells us in Colossians 1:15 that, “He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born over all creation.” When that tiny baby was born, the manifestation of God the Father came to earth to dwell among us. And when Mary laid baby Jesus in that manger, surrounded by livestock and hay, the preeminence over all creation arrived to light the way for sinners.
In our minds, we’d love to have it…the perfect Christmas, complete with bells and mistletoe, gifts and family. But it usually doesn’t work out that way, and in the weeks leading up to Christmas stress takes over and we find ourselves focused on the wrong things. We’re worshipping the problems by worrying…we’re devoting ourselves to a crazy schedule out of desperation…and we’re putting up on a pedestal the to-do list only we think must get done. Quit fretting and stewing over the small stuff…Christmas will happen with or without every detail being done and it will be perfect in its imperfect way. For if you think about it…there has been only one “perfect” Christmas…and it happened in all places – a cow shed.
In this story, a Canaanite woman has approached Jesus asking Him to heal her demon possessed daughter. At first Jesus is kind, but firmly tells her, “I’ve been sent to help the Jews.” But she’s undeterred with her request, so He then says to her, “It’s not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” For most, that kind of rebuff would have stop them…but not her! Yes, she thoroughly understands what Jesus is saying, but she also knows that He’s the only one who can save her daughter. It’s by her tenacity and tremendous faith…a faith that Jesus recognizes in her, that her request is granted.