A Reminder as Advent Starts
This week I was thinking about plans as my daughter is in the process of trying to get a job in California where she wants to move to be closer to her husband to be. She has a great plan. It is even a doable plan but not a sure plan. An interview that she was supposed to have two weeks ago has been delayed for different reasons. She is in a waiting pattern but also looking at other options. What do I tell her? I can’t tell her that things will work out because they might not. Her next months might look different than she had planned.
Also this week we learned that friends of ours will be leaving the field soon due to a lack of position here for the husband. On top of that, their son has pneumonia and they have strep throat. To be sick and not know what is next is not a fun place to be especially at Christmas. What do I say to them? How can I encourage them?
This week my student was reading the story of Joseph being sold as a slave by his brothers to me out of his Bible reader. Truthfully, I may have been half listening until he ended his story with “but God was with Joseph.” Something about those words “but God was with Joseph” made my ears perk up. Genesis chapter 39 shares that God was with Joseph as he was a household slave. He was with Joseph when Joseph was successful in that household, but God was also with Joseph when he was falsely accused and thrown in prison. God was even there in the prison as it seemed that Joseph’s life couldn’t get any worse.
We often rush ahead to the ending of the story where Joseph ends up being second to Pharaoh and saving his family from famine. We clearly see that God worked out everything for good. That is great and all, but what about the now? The now is that God is with us. He is with us in our highs and lows. He is with us in our what ifs and our waitings. He is with us in our joy and pain. We don’t have to know the end to know that God is with us now in this season and this situation.
As we begin the season of advent, we are reminded that God is with us. Matthew quotes Isaiah in saying
Behold the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel which is translated “God with us.” (Matt 1:23)
Jesus, God with us, came first into a world that was full of political unrest. He gave hope by his presence. Now because of him, we too can say that God is with us. Jesus is there in our waiting, in our restlessness, and even during the craziness this season can bring. God is with us.
What will I tell my daughter? I will remind her that God is with her as He was with Joseph. I will say the words of Moses from Deuteronomy 31:8,
And the Lord is the one who goes before you. He will never leave you or forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.
I will encourage her and let her know that she is in my prayers hourly during this time of uncertainty. We might even talk about our time in Central Asia when things seemed bleak and we didn’t know what was next, but we knew God was there with us in that place. Our school had closed. Friends had left. BUT God was with us. He will be with her in this new thing.
For our friends, I will be praying for them but also be looking for tangible ways to be there for them during their last days in West Africa.
So now matter what your situation or season, my prayer is that you will find peace and hope in God’s presence. At the beginning of this advent season, may you remember that God is with you.