We’re moving from Thanksgiving to Advent.
From golden harvest,
and crisp clarity during walks in the woods,
and the delight of the gifts of children receiving the gifts of creation,
to the frosty season of waiting, of longing, of chills and heartache and dead car batteries.
It’s also the time for hope and pushing on and stoking the fire while the frost covers everything.
When God writes trials into our story, he’s writing the stuff that makes true characters.
This is as true now as it was when he wrote his Son into the Book in human form. As we remember, wait, and watch for the coming Jesus, we watch the perfect protagonist, the spoken Word, withstand every weakness of flesh and do the unexpected–reveal God’s glory in his own face.
Every trial and temptation showed the metal he was made of–perfectly pure. They show our worth as well. When we’re whipped around by heartbreaking family realities and burdens and the unknown, God is giving us a window, a peek, at our own souls–which is significant because we’re so often deceived about ourselves, about our strength.
Mary says in her Magnificat, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.”
What most of us would see as a trial–Mary’s unwed pregnancy–she recognized as a blessing and she overflowed in worship. She had been looked on by God. He saw her and her humble estate.
Every believer in Jesus can say the same thing. He has looked on us. He has seen our humble estate, our spiritual poverty. And the gaze of God on us is only a comfort if our estate is humble. A proud heart can’t feel solace in a holy God. But when I fear God, he gently leads me.
This advent I will remember that God has looked on me. He’s looking down on our little family, and he has in mind for us something more than the tragic fools or embittered malcontents of the narrative. He’s shaping disciples; he’s molding faithfulness. He’s telling his story and by his grace, our parts are good ones.