Breathing Advent: An Advent Devotional – Day Six

O Lord, how long will You forget me?
Forever?

How long will You look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
With sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die . . .
But I trust in Your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because You have rescued me.
I will sing to the Lord because He is good to me.
(from Psalm 13)

It’s human to struggle. To feel forgotten by God. To encounter trial after trial and be tempted to think the enemy will somehow always have the upper hand in our lives.

It is natural to look to the past and mourn over the ruins left behind, but it takes spiritual eyes to look to the future with hope. To trust that beauty will somehow arise from the ashes. To remember that Father has not forgotten us.

Where do you look when regrets loom large and redemption seems so very far away? Do you look to your own strengths and try to muscle through the devastation, or do you lift your eyes to seek the help of His countenance? Do you continue to wait for Him to notice you, or do you cling to the realization that He already has and that He is doing something beautiful in this very moment?

No matter what it is you are waiting for, I invite you to take it to Father. To empty your heart before Him, spilling out the ugly, the marred, the broken and hopeless. He will meet you there, beloved. The manger tucked into the recesses of little Bethlehem proves He comes in our darkest moments with deliverance and freedom in His hands. I pray you will travel the path to His incarnation and revisit His presence alongside shepherds and angels. May you join them in experiencing the power and glory of His presence come to save, as you invite the Light of the world to restore the sparkle to your eyes.

He is good, and He has come for you.

waiting
holding out for holy
hoping for the Light of the World
to show up in this darkness
counting down the days to the promised deliverance
gratefully grasping for the gift of God’s presence
trusting it will arrive just in time
to offer the way of salvation
in the midst of this wayward world
gasping for a breath of the Divine
longing for a birth of life to come in these moments
to bridge the gap of here and now with infinite eternal
to hope for His coming in the messiness of manger life
to know His love among the muck and mire
of this sin-soaked dwelling
wishing to be rich enough to offer a five-star hotel
but humbled and grateful that He comes to this stable
content to appear in stubble and dung
‘tho He deserves all pristine and glorious
pondering this starlit night of death and life
warring for the souls of mankind
i lift my eyes to the hills where angels descend to bring
glad tidings of great joy that will be for all people
and i marvel to be chosen as one of the all
breathing in this fearsome glory
i set my feet upon timeworn path
following shepherds’ footprints to stable of old
only to find it is my own heart to which i am led
with cadence of drummer boy’s heartbeat
i join in angels’ song
kneeling in awe and wonder
breathing deeply the scent of straw and sweat
and dawning of freedom
birthed with Salvation’s cry
i warm myself near Advent’s glow

FOR REFLECTION
How do you respond to the hards of life? Are you tempted to feel as though God has forgotten you? Jesus invites you to bring your concerns to Him. He is aware of every struggle you are facing, and He wants to bear the load for you. He knows the longing of waiting for your deliverance, dear one –  He has had His share in it from the other side. When Jesus was released to enter earth’s domain, it was with great anticipation of the coming reunion with His beloved. With you.
May you rejoice over your rescue from sin’s domain, and sing a song of praise to the One who has been good to you. I mean it. Literally. At some point today, sing a song of praise to the Lord, whether it is in the quiet of your car on the way home from work or while you’re preparing dinner this evening, Belt out a song of worship to the One who is worthy and has sacrificed His all to make you His own.

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