Faith is not just for bright days and cheery times. Faith comes in the dark nights and the hard times.
We too often forget that the Bible is a long record of hard times. It’s written by people living through difficult years, about people live through difficult years and to people living through difficult years.
Name a major character from the Biblical history and you will name a human who suffered.
Through the suffering of history, prophetic utterances wove a promise of a coming light.
Prophecies like Micah 5:2 – But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
God’s people clung to those promises, longing for the arrival of a great hero who would bring them peace. No one could have imagined the fulfilment of that promise.
An obscure young pregnant woman, forced to stop her nesting and leave home for the whim of an oppressive foreign government. A long, cold and exhausting journey through hilly terrain infested with wild animals and wild people. An overcrowded village and a place to lie next to the livestock. A helpless newborn lying in a hastily prepared bed of straw nestled into a feeding trough.
This is how the days of the coming of the Messiah were fulfilled.
The days of his coming were long and difficult.
Yet the darkness of those days could not withstand the light of his coming.
Out of that suffering womb came salvation for all who suffer.
God’s ways are not our ways.
His timing is not our timing.
His ends are not our ends.
And that’s okay.
I don’t know what your Christmas will look like this year.
I don’t know what grief or frustration or isolation you will experience.
But I do know the light of the world dawned in dark days. And I know that his timing is perfect, his ways are wise and gracious and his ends are far better than anything we can imagine.
Tom Brown is the planting pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Wichita. Tom and his wife, Mandy, have worked together in ministry for 18 years and have four children. More about Pastor Tom Brown