Preparing to relocate was truly an experience. There was the deep lamenting over leaving our family and dear friends, but yet there was excitement in knowing that the Lord was going to do great things in the coming months and years in our new location. I felt it deep into my core. Like never before the Lord continued to impress upon me that He was facilitating this move, that He was at work, that He was taking us to the exact place of His choosing. It was in His perfect time and for His purpose. In the midst of so much angst and upheaval, these thoughts and promises provided such comfort to me as we prepared to leave our home.
It’s been a year and a half since our move. And while the pains of uprooting have softened, there are still voids. There are bouts of loneliness that overwhelm the soul when you least expect it. There are the battles to belong that we still seem to wage every day. Finding the puzzle to which we fit into has been elusive and frustrating.
Is this Your plan?
If I am completely honest, there are days that I am left petitioning the Lord for answers. And while I do not doubt or question the Lord’s will, I steal moments of quietness and turn my eyes heavenward to ask him: “Is this what you brought us here for?” “Is this what I left my home for?” “This is Your will?” I do not ask out of disrespect or in a challenging tone, but I come before the Lord in my complete humanness and frailty as His child. I come to affirm to Him that my expectations were different from the reality that I am currently experiencing. And with that comes a certain degree of lamenting. I liken these moments to some of the heart-to-heart talks that I have had with my sons. They have had times where the frustrations of their souls, the confusion of their minds, or the trouble in their hearts simply needs to take voice in the presence of one who loves them.
Christmas Through New Eyes
During one of these recent moments, I gave voice to my feelings, and the Lord, in His patience, grace, and love, provided me with exactly what I needed to hear. He redirected me to the Christmas story but provided a new perspective by which to view it.
The words of the classic hymn “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne and Thy Kingly Crown” came to mind. The words below are an updated version of this old-time favorite and they serve as the core of what the Lord laid on my heart. First, take a look at the lyrics:
There Is Room (Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne)
Emily Elliot/Timothy Matthews; add’l words/music by Tristan & Sharon Mason
Lord, you left Your throne and Your kingly crown
When You came here to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room for Your holy nativity.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus; there is room in my heart for Thee.
Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang, proclaiming Your royal degree;
But of lowly birth, Lord, you came to earth, and in great humility. (Chorus)
And You came, O Lord, as the living Word, that would set Your people free;
But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn, they led you to Calvary. (Chorus)
For my sin and shame, Heaven’s King was slain, crucified upon the Tree.
Lord, You took my place, Your atoning grace was poured out at the cross for me. (Chorus)
There is room in my heart, Lord Jesus
You left your throne from heav’n above all because of Your great love
There is room in my heart
My sin and shame are gone forever, all forgiven in Your name
There is room in my heart
Come, Lord Jesus, quickly come…
Why Jesus Came
Jesus, God in human form, left heaven. He willingly left heaven. He left the presence of His Father to come to earth to dwell among sinful man. He took up residence among the sinners, thieves, destitute, and needy. He abandoned splendor. He exchanged a throne for a manger and a crown for a cross.
His reception into this world was heralded by few, not acknowledged by the masses or applauded by the many. A humble entrance, a lonely welcome, a simple ushering in of the King.
The reality of Christmas is this: Jesus came to do the will of the Father. He came to die.
The will of the Father was not to provide Jesus with a life of ease. It was not to provide Him with fame, fanfare, or frivolity. It was not to provide 33 years of self indulgent living amongst the elite of society. It was not to surround Him with friends, fellowship, or fine things. The will of the Father was to send His son here to die. That is the harsh reality of the Father’s Will.
I have heard far too often, even from believers, that if God truly loved us, why does he allow trouble or heartache to come? Why doesn’t He just provide what we want? Why must life be difficult or less than what we had hoped for? How can the will of God permit sadness, loneliness, sickness, and death?
Those are difficult questions for sure. But I am always reminded that God is infinite, and we are finite. We do not have the ability to look far into the future. We can dream and think about what our future may hold, but we have little insight as to how our days, weeks, and years will ultimately work out.
God sees all. He sees our future and beyond. And while He loves us beyond comprehension, His main goal is not to provide the comforts of today at the expense of the riches of tomorrow. Christ was sent to die because God saw the chasm that we are blind to. He saw that His greatest of all creations would never enjoy the fellowship of the Father without the death of the Son. He knew that our attempts at righteousness would be futile and even our best efforts at right living, filthe. He knew, and because of love, His will for his Son was a cross.
While we have hopes and dreams for our lives, let us not place our hope in our dreams. The Lord is working to ultimately bring you closer to Him. He seeks to refine us as fine gold, to bring us to a place where the ashes of today are the beauty of tomorrow. Sometimes the path to beauty takes a path unpreferred by us. Yet we must hold tight to our faith and knowledge that He works all things for the good to those that are called by His name.
In a year like 2020, I can imagine that many of you are left feeling weary, tired, lonely, and desperate for answers and change. Your expectations of life may not be in step with your current reality. For some of you, you may have peace in knowing that God remains in control. For others, you are filled with angst and anger. You question, “How can this be Your will?” “What good will come from this?” “Why?” You are not alone in asking those questions. But I leave with you this: there is hope. There is hope greater than anything this world has to offer. There is hope that transcends the disaster of the day. There is hope that shines bright through the wreckage, and there is hope that is eternal. This hope is found in Christ.
Christ left His throne to provide you with an eternal home in glory. He left splendor to clothe you in righteousness. He left heaven so that you may inherit the very place that He left. He left His Father so that you may know Him. He left heaven to die so that you would never have to.
I trust that during this Christmas you will see and understand that Jesus was sent to fulfill the will of the Father, and that the years from birth to death were not ones of ease and acceptance. They were difficult. But through the life of Christ, and through his death and resurrection, we have eternal hope.