Season of Advent

This will be my first blog post to write via voice text. If you read my last post the know part of the reason why. Although I’ve been expected to do much of it this semester, writing has been difficult.

In my last post I described the pain of a dislocation of my right shoulder. That happened a few more times this semester, including right before finals. (That was fun.) I also had an entire week this semester in which I couldn’t use my dominant hand at all; even moving my fingers caused excruciating pain. Then a week or two later, my other hand dislocated for the first time. Even more fun.

Thankfully that’s most of my injuries this semester. Except my nondominant hand just dislocated again. Hence the voice texting.

I’d be lying if I said this was easy. And I think I lied to myself most of the semester.

That is, until I studied the book of Job. That’s a different story for a different post. This post is a precursor to that post.

This post has the goal of describing the end of my semester, without giving away the end result. Sometimes we don’t know the end result. And in these moments, we are free to encounter God like never before.

On my last Sunday in Birmingham, my church examined the holistic Christmas story. In my pastor’s sermon, we looked at the story of Simeon.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law,28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
    according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31     that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”

Luke 2:25-32

Simeon didn’t know the end result. But he had faith in the end result.

A passage from the book of Psalms reminds me of Simeon.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
    be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
    “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
    Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
    O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
    O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
    but the Lord will take me in.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    and lead me on a level path
    because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
    for false witnesses have risen against me,
    and they breathe out violence.

13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

Psalm 27:7-14

 

I can relate to part of this psalm too.

Over the past three years, writing has become increasingly difficult for me. What we thought was tendinitis in my right hand led me to back off on journaling in my quiet times. The increasing demands of school required even more adjustments. Shoulder injuries made typing even more difficult. But I was getting by, often typing only with my left hand.

Then it too dislocated.

That changed things. I was out of options. I was out of motivation to seek more options.

Journaling in my quiet times was when I felt closest to God. I felt the need to stop for physical pain. I’ve felt renewed closeness to God through blogging, which requires typing. (Still using voice texting, but I’m having to edit a lot. Technology- gotta love it.) With injuries to most upper-body joints, I felt like this too would be taken from me.

There’s obvious good news in that I am still able to, somehow, complete a blog post. There’s even more good news to be shared in my next post. That good news doesn’t fit this post.

Also on my last Sunday in Birmingham, my college ministry held an advent service. The point of the service was to identify areas in our lives that we are waiting on the Lord to heal. This was not a Christmas service; we were not yet celebrating the coming of Christ. Instead, we recognized the tension between “already” and “not yet.”

Advent is the freedom to mourn the current situation. Sometimes we need to mourn the effects of sin before celebrating Christ’s victory over it. Sometimes we need to recognize that we are the bad news before celebrating the good news. We see throughout Scripture that there is a time for this mourning, this season. (i.e. Ecclesiastes 3)

I’m not yet sharing my medical good news because it was unexpected. Before it came, I was in this season of mourning and waiting for good news to come. And maybe someone reading this is too. Maybe someone needs to hear the faithfulness of God in an unresolved story.

This song of advent by Hillsong has been playing on repeat for the past several days.

“I can see the promise
I can see the future
You’re the God of seasons
I’m just in the winter
If all I know of harvest
Is that it’s worth my patience
Then if You’re not done working
God I’m not done waiting
You can see my promise
Even in the winter
Cause You’re the God of greatness
Even in a manger
For all I know of seasons
Is that You take Your time
You could have saved us in a second
Instead You sent a child”

Until next time, consider, with me, the faithfulness of God to fulfill His promises, and believe that we will “look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lordbe strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:13-14)