It’s the end of December as I’m typing this which means that we survived the holiday craziness (whoot! whoot!) and things have come to a screeching halt in those grey days between Christmas and the new year.
Sometimes those quiet grey days are peaceful, but sometimes they feel empty and words of hope are especially needed.
One more whisper of truth from the Christmas carols we’ve been singing all month.
A weary world rejoices because there can now be Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.
The answer to our weariness, rushing in on us on these grey days, is found in reconciliation.
Reconciliation means to bring before the face of God. We are reconciled out of love, for intimacy and communion with God. We are reconciled to do what our hearts were created for- connection, belonging, love, worship.
Reconciliation flows from God’s heart and makes His heart’s desire possible. Throughout the Old Testament He stated over and over “I will be their God, and they will be my people.” And our salvation through Jesus is so that we can, one day, come before Him face-to-face.
I love the concept of reconciliation because it changed the way I relate to Jesus. Throughout my life I pieced together a picture that Jesus was a reluctant Savior. That He came to earth and died on the cross because He had to. That He came out of cold duty and obedience.
And that impression was so, so wrong.
The Bible paints a picture not of a reluctant Savior but of a God who fully rescues, who delivers by any means, to bring His people into relationship with Himself.
The greatest rescue mission ever leads to reconciliation with God, which results in redemption.
And this redemption is not just an in-the-future-once-you-get-to-Heaven event. His redemption changes our lives right here, right now.
Redemption is the way He takes back the enemy’s claim on His beloved people and His beautiful world.
God redeems – buys back, rescues from loss – situations and circumstances in our lives. Because of the power of God’s redemption we can stand firm and yell at the darkness in our lives God turned into good what you meant for evil.
This powerful redemption is the fuel for our fight for hope. We can push back against the darkness because we believe that God will bring good where darkness wanted to bring evil.
I honestly don’t know how He does it, but I’ve seen Him do it. I’ve seen Him weave stronger marriages through things that should have destroyed those marriages. I’ve seen Him take brokenness and fill the gaps with Himself to make a person more whole than they’ve would have been otherwise.
There’s no way to track it with a chart or trace it with our finger, but God works in the chaos and brings beauty.
“Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.” Psalm 77:19
God’s actions are not limited. They are not bound by the expectations of others or by the rules of this world. He doesn’t look at our lives and see hopeless situations because no one and no situation is beyond His reach.
Things in our lives do not have to stay where they are right now at this moment because God is a God who fully rescues, at all costs, buys back, and restores.
This is the beauty of redemption.
This sounds great, you may be saying, but it doesn’t feel true.
I get it. I often feel a gap between what God says is true and my feelings.
So what do we do with that gap?
We can be honest with God about the gap. We can pour out our hearts before Him. He can handle our honesty.
We can run toward truth. We can fill the gap with a steady intake of truth. Strength can come through struggle and our faith can grow through times of wrestling in this gap, but only if we run toward truth.
We can ask God to bridge the gap. We can ask Him to do what only He can do: Help us see His hand and believe His words.
When I run toward truth I run to what God says about Himself in the Bible. I want the pictures I piece together about God to be based on His Words and not on the words of others.
I’ve found a list of questions that help me apply the truth of God’s Words to my life. These questions have helped me run toward truth when I am sitting in the dark.
I’ve created a guide using those questions in hopes that it will help you see Jesus in a closer way too. I’ve included an example from my own study and a blank page for you to use.
Thank you so much for following this December series. I have enjoyed the comments and conversations that took place during this time together. This has been a gift to me, an anchor during the busy holiday season. It has reminded me that the difference Jesus makes is one that reaches from this broken world into eternity.
This post is part of my December series, “What Difference Does Jesus Make?” Please join me on my writer’s Facebook page, Erin Ulerich, on Wednesdays for more truth about fighting for hope. I’ll be live at 6:00 a.m. CST, but the video will be available to watch whenever you can.
I am giving away this spunky little mug through a drawing. To be the lucky recipient of this mug, all you have to do is comment on the Wednesday videos in December. Let me know what you found encouraging or challenging during the video. Each week that you comment I will put your name in the drawing. The drawing will take place on Wednesday, January 3, during my 6:00 AM Facebook Live. The good news is that you don’t have to be awake to win.