Savior

f60a75b558a14d61052bf9e6b4eba8ceI usually look forward to that November email from Steve asking us to write a blog for Advent. I’m a talker, so I don’t struggle to find stories to share or thoughts to express. Give me 30 minutes and you’ve got a blog post. Now I must admit, it is full of grammatical errors and lacks polish, but it gets done rather easily. For some reason though, this year when I got the email, there was no eagerness. I felt like I didn’t really have anything I wanted to share and instead it felt like just one more thing I had to do.

To be honest, this was not a great year. It was a long year. It was a tear-filled year. It was a very heavy year. This was the year that every counselor dreads. This was the year that I experienced the thing that I had spent the last 25 years trying to prevent. This was the year that I lost a client. This was the year that a young person that I had known and loved and invested in took their own life. This was the year I had never wanted to come.

This year I had to actually believe the words I so often say, “I can not be your Savior.” I always knew these words were true but then when it happened, all I felt was my immense failure to save a life. When that young adult had been a teen, I had spent hours walking alongside them. I had offered countless messages of hope. I had listened to each heartache. But I had obviously never said whatever words they needed to hear so that as the years passed, they would chose life. This was the year that I truly learned that I couldn’t save them all.

“No matter what we say or what we do, sometimes people are going to die,” is what Mike told me that day. I will never forget it, words so obvious and familiar but so unexpected. He looked me right in the eyes and in that moment I was forced to not just hear the words, but to trust the words and accept the proof. Kind Mike, he helped me recognize that I would grieve two losses, one was a beautiful young woman and the other was the knowledge that I could not save.

This year, may these words, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord,” be engraved upon my heart.

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Tears

I see a lot of tears each week. Life is hard, people hurt, and relationships are messy. For many, this time of year brings greater expectations, stresses, and financial concerns like no other time of the year. Many people going through separation and divorce try and recreate an impression or appearance of past holidays in order to feel as normal as possible, but the reality is things will never be the same as before.

Our emotions can surprise us. We can become ambushed by pain. Our emotions can be tough, intense, and unpredictable.

As we look at the Bible, we will notice a great deal of tears as well. We see Peter, the disciple of Jesus, weeping bitterly when he realized he had betrayed him.

In the story of David’s life there is much weeping. We see him and Jonathan embracing and crying when David had to flee for his life. We see tears when one son died in infancy.

And the shortest verse in the Bible tells us that Jesus wept.

In Luke 7, a widow was weeping because her only son had died, and when Jesus saw her, it says that he had compassion on her and said in verse 13, “Do not weep.” Jesus then raises the dead man to life.

Jesus looks with great compassion upon all of us who suffer. He understands our pain and suffering, for he knows it full well, he knows what it’s like to suffer. When Jesus tells us “Do not weep”, it’s because he has reached out with his own hand to touch the source of our tears, to take it to the cross, so that he speaks to us with words of life. Jesus understands sorrow.

Our tears are never wasted. We will weep our way into heaven, but not one of our tears will ever fall without hope. We look forward to that great day when all our tears will be no more, and God himself will wipe away every tear from our eyes.

Rich Starsoneck