Today I offer up a story and a song.
This year, as we started into the Advent season, I came across a short story on Facebook posted by a classmate of mine from seminary. His name is Andrew and he pastors a church in Denver. Since I first read it, my mind hasn’t been able to stop thinking about it. I offer it today as a story of hope.
One of the best conversations I’ve had in a long time happened a few weeks ago. I was eating breakfast with a new(er) pastor in town, 17 years my senior. After spending the morning hearing his story, a story like all of ours with highs and lows, immense joys and heartrending pains, I said to him, “Ok, I’m 32 years old. If you were to give yourself any bit of advice or counsel at my age, what would it be?”
The question caught him off guard. He thought for a minute, furrowed his brow, looked at me and said, “I think I would say that everything’s going to be okay.”
“Ooh, that’s good,” I replied, liking the sound of what he said. “Everything’s going to be fine.”
He immediately retorted, “No, I didn’t say fine. Everything’s not going to be fine. Much of it will be deeply painful, confusing, and crushing. But you’ll get through it, and you’ll be okay.”
That interaction gave me more hope for the future than I had had in quite some time.
And that, I think, is part of the message of Advent. Through it all – all the pain, confusion, and difficulty – there is God’s promising presence – a presence that inspires deep hope.
We’re going to be okay.
Pain and grief are palpable. Life is hard and confusing. There are multiple reasons to thrown in the towel and quit. Things are not fine. Just this week a family member that I wrote about in this post here, passed away. But… we are going to be okay.
Each year during Advent, there are a handful of songs that cycle through my iPod play list. During the month of December I listen to them over and over. One of those songs is This is Not the End, by Gungor. I offer this song as a complement to the story above as a reminder that by the grace of God we will get through the difficult times. We will make it. We will be okay.
Grace and Peace to you this Advent Season.