Next week is Christmas and many of us are already filled with anticipation as we stare at the presents under the tree. Maybe there is one thing that you have been hoping beyond hope will show up with your name on it. You have done even more than hint about what you really want. This is the one thing that would make your Christmas perfect. But what happens if you don’t get what you want? More importantly, what happens when life doesn’t give you what you want?
The end of the calendar year also brings a time of reflection on the events of the previous year. What do you do when you look back and see mostly pain? Maybe this past year included a cancer diagnosis or other major medical issue for yourself or a close family member. Or maybe you lost your job. Maybe you had a major family issue that has left you confused, upset and unable to forgive. Maybe you had to move or had a close family member that moved far away? What do you do when life doesn’t go as you planned? You prayed and prayed but God did not answer in the way you thought was best. You start wondering if God even hears your prayers. Are they are just bouncing off the ceiling? Ever felt like that?
It is easy to trust God when things are going the way that we want. God seems like our friend and we confidently enter each day with hope and anticipation. But when God answers in ways that we didn’t plan, it can be hard to keep hope. So, what do we do?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
We keep praying and we keep trusting. God didn’t promise to give us everything that we want (although at times we like to think that He did). But he does promise to give us peace and guard our hearts. Think about it, during the hardest times is when we are at risk of giving our hearts away to something else. But God has promised to protect our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the answer – even when things don’t seem to make sense.
If life is hard and confusing for you right now, let me encourage you to keep your hearts and minds focused on Jesus. No, He won’t be our genie in a bottle and make all our wishes come true; but He will love us and bring us through the tough times! Choose to stay focused on Jesus and stay hopeful. He is the answer!