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the activity of Jesus


The activity of Jesus, from the location of where he was teaching to the content he was teaching, to the miracles he performed, was always intentional and multidimensional.

On the Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues…

Luke 13:10

Jesus was teaching on the Sabbath, which hardly seems out of the ordinary, but it is a critical component of this story as this would be no ordinary Sabbath. There was a bigger plan – a greater purpose for those in attendance that day – and Christ, positioning himself in the synagogue to teach, understood and could see the critical nature of this timing.

…and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.

Luke 13:11

This crippled woman was not possessed by a demon. Her affliction was a result of an oppressive spirit, crippling her from the outside. This spirit could not, and did not, possess her. She was bound up physically. The pain and the anguish she felt – and it should be noted, not because of some hidden sin in her life – was evidenced in her broken body. To shame her for her condition is likened to that of shaming an individual dealing with the crushing weight of depression or a physical illness that has plagued them for years. We tend to fault the depressed and call out their behavior as a character issue- that somehow, they are the maker of their own despair. We have no compassion, no grace, no place in our systems for those crippled by the physiological and psychological constraints of depression. We overanalyze the chronically ill. We can’t figure out why they are dealing with this disease, and why it cannot be remedied, so we accuse. We find a solution that fits our paradigm: “this person must be filled with the sin of bitterness or unforgiveness or addiction”, and we marginalize the wounded and broken that are desperately searching for grace and healing.

This woman, so bent over and so bound up physically, Christ called a “daughter of Abraham” (vs. 16). She was not an outsider. She followed the laws. She was chosen, but she could not claim her position. The enemy was tormenting her. For eighteen years, she was crippled by a despair that few of us can truly relate to. Imagine if your body took on the nature of your depression, anxiety, insecurity, and fear. Imagine the tangled mess of your internal life exposed to the outside world. Imagine the stares and raised brows when you entered a room. Or, perhaps, like this woman, your torment would cripple you to the point of being hidden and invisible. Imagine that feeling for a moment. Put yourself in her shoes.

The blessed assurance of Christ that was, and still is, our hope and security, was his awareness of all things…every detail. While this crumpled-up, tormented woman was invisible to the crowd, she was not invisible to Christ. He saw her…just like he sees you and me. He saw her in her torment; and rather than try to explain it away, or pile on more shame that somehow, she was the maker of this trouble, he had compassion on her. Jesus always had his eye on the marginalized, the unlovely, and the weak.

And his eye is ever upon on our torment, our pain, and our troubled hearts. While the crowd marginalizes, Christ draws out and redeems the broken.

When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

Luke 13:12, 13

This miracle is saturated with warmth, beauty, hope, justice, and indescribable love. It is a beautiful story of our Savior’s beautiful heart. Christ is always moved to compassion toward the suffering. His word and his touch are a promise of restoration, healing and redemption.

Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

Luke 13:14

The synagogue ruler passive aggressively spoke to the people crowding in to see Jesus and to be touched by their Savior. Rather than speak to Jesus directly he told the people that their needs held very little value in light of the Sabbath…the holy day. He set the day over the need. He was bound to the system, giving it far greater authority and honor than the One who was the giver of the Sabbath. People became objects, stripped of their humanity, serving the system, rather than the system serving their needs.

There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). From this ancient context – this miraculous event in a synagogue – to today, we see that history repeats itself over and over. Manmade systems will all eventually follow the same trajectory. What may have, at one time, been implemented with sincerity and faith, will eventually become a burden too heavy to bear. The wisdom of man cannot hold the brokenness of this world. It takes the wisdom of Christ, and the redemption of the cross, to carry with compassion, grace and mercy, the weight of the crippled believer. True Christianity places the person- the individual- above the system.

And that is exactly what Christ did for this woman.

The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

Luke 13:15, 16

Jesus responded directly to the synagogue ruler. He didn’t speak to the crowd as the ruler did. Jesus wasn’t going to triangulate and turn this into a match of wits with the crowd playing the intermediary. He took up this case with the one who was making the accusation, and he made it clear that the system, meant to bring hope and rest to the weary, was abusively broken.

In the world and in the church we are constantly in peril of loving systems more than we love God and more than we love men.

William Barclay

It was actually legal to allow animals who are typically bound up, to be led from their stalls to water on the Sabbath. Jesus rebuked this whole paradigm. At what point did these rulers subordinate the freedom and restoration of a human life under that of these animals used for work? When did an animal hold more value than a human?

Jesus made it clear that, even though he could have waited until the following day to heal this woman, it was unthinkable to allow her to suffer one more minute…especially in the presence of the Messiah.

Jesus Christ came for moments just like this one. He came for individuals just like this crippled woman. He didn’t come to impress the high and mighty. He wasn’t on the lookout for the influencers and the beautiful people. He came for the broken – both internally and externally – the marginalized, the hopeless, the dying, the dead and diseased. He came for the wealthy and the poor, the hungry and the well-fed. He came for the hearts desperate for truth, for peace, for hope, for a Savior.

Jesus always looked for the cast-offs and the marginalized. He sought them out. Even when a poor woman touched his garment and received healing, he knew. His eyes and his ears were dialed in to the sights and sounds of the least of these. And he called them to himself. His compassion and his deep love brought them healing, and most importantly, redemption.

He has called us to do the same. He has called us to seek out the lost, the dying, and the lame. He has commissioned every believer to “Go…and make disciples.” (Matthew 28:19). Regardless of whatever title we may or may not carry, we are all commissioned to bring the lost to Jesus…to help untie the ropes and the constraints that have bound them up and lead them to the living water.

And for those who are bound up, crumpled over and distressed, Christ hears you and sees you. If you have been marginalized, shoved to the side, forgotten or made invisible by an impossible system, I know that Jesus is sitting right in the middle of it, and he knows where you are. He is not unaware. His heart is moved to compassion, and his hands are ready to touch you and heal you. After Christ put his hands on the crippled woman, she immediately straightened up. Immediately. His power to redeem the broken spaces of your life is immediate. And it is complete.

Rest assured that Christ’s power is enough to untie the ropes and set us free. He doesn’t waste time.

When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.

Luke 13:17

The people…that crowd in the synagogue…were delighted. I find myself delighted in picturing this moment. And I find myself walking in delight, knowing that Christ is still redeeming the crippled and doing it in the most unconventional ways.

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How to Transition Well in a Season of Chaos

1. Give your people space to speak up and process.

Silence is not always a good sign. We often misread silent cooperation as a sign of compliance and agreement, when, in fact, what is going on internally is the complete opposite. The silent follower will eventually silently walk away.

I would much rather have a very vocal response to transition and change in the people I am leading – whether family or team – because then, I know exactly what is going on in their minds and hearts. A vocal dissent can be addressed. Knowing where the pain point is, or where the frustration lies, allows me to know how to better walk with someone through the transition. Silence seems golden, but it can be very costly. Navigating through unhappy and frustrated discussions is much more likely to turn into authentic support and authentic compliance.

When we moved to Malawi with our four children, there was a great deal of negative discourse on the whole matter.

Our oldest daughter was sixteen years old and knew exactly all of the amazing experiences she would be missing during the course of our first term. She was extremely vocal in expressing her anger and grief. I had no question in my mind where Sydney stood regarding our move to Malawi. She was very clear, even to the point of emphatically declaring, “I hate Africa!” There was no confusion. Her honest and verbal expression of her feelings gave us all the raw material we needed to walk alongside her through the process of transition.

Our older son, Jackson, was 12, on the verge of turning 13. He, too, was highly expressive with his negative feelings about living in Malawi. He was also dealing with severe anxiety, which began to surface the year prior to our move. He was struggling both overtly and internally with this transition. As difficult as it was to hear and receive all of Jackson’s negativity, we allowed him the space he needed to explode and process. It tore at our hearts, but at least we knew what was going on in that head of his. Even when he went silent, the physical manifestation of his anxiety gave him away. These outward and inward expressions of upset allowed us to know where he was and how to walk him through each phase of the transition process.

Our second daughter, aged 14, was our silent follower. Brooklyn is a peacemaker. She longs for harmony and will sacrifice her own needs in order to keep everyone happy. Her biggest fear in all of this transition was being an additional “burden” (her perception) on her parents. And so, she quietly went along, while feeling all the same emotions and fears as her siblings. I had a sense that she wasn’t doing as well as she was trying to portray, but oftentimes, due to the very loud and negative voices echoing through our home, her quiet struggles were buried.

Brooklyn wasn’t just wrestling with the grief of losing her life in the United States; of all of our older three children, she experienced, what I would refer to as, the most “trauma” at their new school. She was unjustly, and inappropriately, reprimanded by the headmistress for something she did not do; she was the target of ongoing teasing by the boys in her class, while simultaneously the girls in her class ignored her and marginalized her; and when she was struggling to understand a concept in math, her teacher yelled at her for asking questions (thankfully, he apologized to both Brooklyn and us, quickly recognizing his out-of-bounds behavior). It was awful. Brooklyn, our easy-going, life-loving girl, went deeply inward. She pretended to be sick in order to miss school and walked around in a state of apathy for the greater part of those first six months.

It took Covid-19 and a quarantine to give us a chance to dig deep into the heart of what Brooklyn was going through. I often reflect on what a gift Covid-19 was for our family. While Brooklyn followed along and didn’t rock the boat, out of our three older children, she was the one that was probably at the most critical place of brokenness by the time we were able to address her pain. I remember doing a Bible study with her and Sydney during our quarantine, and she shared with me that she was angry at God. Her pain was deep. Her grief was intense. Those precious months of processing with her opened up a tremendous opportunity for healing.

As difficult as it is as a parent, or a leader, to hear dissent, to hear the irritation and frustration of those we are leading through change, we have to challenge ourselves to see it as a gift, not a burden. Like I said at the beginning, I would much rather hear, and know, how my people are feeling – the good, the bad, and the ugly – than to think that because everyone is smiling and going along with everything without complaint that all is well. I can guarantee one thing for sure, no matter what the change or transition, there will always be internal struggles, fears, and negative feelings at some point. It is inevitable, and perhaps why there are so many books written on leading through change (Managing Transitions, by William Bridges; Tempered Resilience, by Tod E. Bolsinger; The Grief Tower, by Lauren Wells…to name a few).

Let the vocal dissent become your friend. Let it guide you as you walk with those you lead. An empathetic and listening ear will open up the heart of those who follow you and create trust. Dismissing authentic feelings as “difficult” or “bothersome” will inevitably create anger and hostility, and a lack of trust.

2. Walk your people through the transition.

What does it look like to walk people through transition? Every person has different needs in the transition process. For some, they need to understand the plan and to feel like they can get a handle on the part they play in all of it. Some just need to their feelings to be validated and noticed. Some need to take the transition in bite-size pieces.

First, as best as you can in the chaos of transition, create structure. Brooklyn needed to walk through the transition one step at a time. We have always created routines and rhythms in our home, regardless of where in the world we live. I function at my best in routine and structure, and so does our family. They need to know that there are consistent benchmarks that guide our days/weeks/months. For all of our kids, the daily structure we set in place gave them security, especially for Brooklyn. Taking life day-by-day, rather than event-by-event, gave her breathing room and a sense of normality that her new life in a very complex context did not always give to her.

Sydney has often shared with me that the effort we put into creating “normal” in her daily life helped her to feel safe and regulated. We told our kids that they were to pick an after-school activity to participate in (this was both when we were living in Malawi and before we transitioned to an online school). This was a non-negotiable. It turns out, even though there was some initial push back on this, that having an activity in their lives ended up being a huge part of what helped them settle into our “new normal”.

Second, create an atmosphere for processing. Regular and consistent family meetings that allowed our kids to open up and share, times for listening to music and worshiping together, prayer and laughter,  gave them a firm spiritual foundation in the chaos. We never pressured our children or told them, “You must love Africa.” Or, “You need to get on board and love this.” Giving them the freedom to not love any of it was the catalyst for changing their hearts. Those evening family times saved our family and relieved the pressure to feel feelings that they were not ready to feel.

Third, a very important part of this process is having a sense of humor. Laughter is therapeutic. Transition is so serious and stressful. It zaps us of our energy. Finding times to play and laugh and just pull out of the heaviness of the moment brings rest, hope and cohesiveness.

By the end of March, 2020 Covid-19 had shut everything down, and while Malawi never imposed a formal lockdown, most businesses were closed, and life came to a screeching halt. School migrated to an online format, which brought on a whole new kind of stress, and our routine and structure had to pivot quickly. By July, we were beginning to feel a little stir-crazy. And so, we decided to do “Christmas in July.” We put up our Christmas decorations, baked Christmas cookies, set up our video projector to watch Christmas movies, and even did our traditional “Secret Santa” gift exchange. For a week, we escaped the mundane and the heaviness of the pandemic and played. It was marvelous, and our children will tell you it is one of their favorite memories.

3. Validate. Don’t alienate.

In chaos, none of us are functioning at our best. I will forget side conversations, and sometimes the bigger vision gets buried in all of the chaos of transition. And so, I like to ask questions. I have learned that not everyone likes or appreciates questions. In chaos, I also will reach out for clarity or even request structure to help me along the process. I have also learned that this, too, is not always appreciated. The sad thing is, the more those questions, efforts at clarity-seeking, and requests go ignored, the less I feel compelled to continue following along, and it feels alienating. In seasons of chaos and transition, when we want our people close, our dismissive behaviors actually push our people away.

I noticed this a lot with our kids during transition. I think I’ve made myself clear. I’ve answered the same questions and explained the plan a dozen times, and then someone comes and asks for clarification. I can get frustrated and irritated because in my mind, I’ve already answered those questions. Why do I need to repeat myself one.more.time?

The reality is, when we are in transition, when the chaos is all around us, our brains can’t hold on to all the information, and we struggle to keep the facts in order. Therefore, we continue to ask questions.

It is somewhat like we revert to our preschool selves. Have you ever watched a group of preschoolers play at recess? Their play is often a representation of something they are trying to internalize. For instance, when I taught preschool, there was a little girl in my class who wanted to play “funeral” every single day at recess. She would gather her friends and they would reenact a funeral over and over again. I thought to myself, “why on earth would a bunch of three-year-olds want to play such a dark game of pretend?” Then, when this little girl’s mom came to pick her up from school, she briefly mentioned that they had been to a funeral over the weekend, and it had been a heavy week for their family. This little girl was processing all that she experienced and observed over the course of the previous weekend. She used play to solidify the experience. It was how she made sense of something so enormous. And here is the key…she didn’t just play “funeral” one time. She played “funeral” for a solid week until she understood her experience.

I believe this same concept can be appropriated to life transition. We keep asking questions in order to grasp what is happening. Questions should NEVER be seen as a threat. As the leader/parent, we should really be proactive in repeating the vision, the purpose, the plan, and the daily goals over and over again, no matter how repetitive it may seem. The repetition will bring ownership and peace. When we think we’ve made ourselves clear, we need to repeat all of the above again (and again, and again).



Ordinary is highly under-rated.

It seems the sincere longing for significance has pushed past contentment in doing a job well done, to that of being a world changer…influencer…and platform-creator. It is not enough, anymore, to do the hard and consistent daily work of investing our lives into meaningful, yet oftentimes, ordinary endeavors. Today, we are driven to be seen…to be heard…to position ourselves for greater significance and greater influence. Ordinary is boring and old-school, and it certainly doesn’t illicit the kind of attention that so many of us are seeking today.

And yet, there is something extraordinary about the ordinary.

My days are not so impressive on the outside. In this season of life, I am in the throes of child-rearing, home-managing and integrating culture into the impressionable minds and hearts of our children. I grocery shop, do the laundry, plan meals for the week, cook, clean, pack lunches, help with homework, create schedules, maintain order, educate my children on the importance of table manners and etiquette (this is never-ending work!), balance the checkbook, keep the budget, go on coffee dates with Joel and the kids, and oversee the day-in/day-out lives of my family, while developing relationships and ongoing connections with the people in our sphere.  It’s not all that exciting.

It is very ordinary.

And while my calendar boasts of a very ordinary life, there is something quite extraordinary happening between the lines and the dates, the appointments and the pen strokes. The lives of our children are being shaped, formed, developed, and discipled. Within the ordinary, God is doing extraordinary work. It is tempting to want to create for myself a profile that makes me look special and significant, but in doing so, it minimizes the good work that is taking place within the constraints of the ordinary. Ordinary is highly under-rated. Ordinary invites the time and space for deeper relationships, honest conversations, and focused attention.

Maybe I am feeling inspired to write this because I need to remind myself of these timeless truths, and maybe there is someone out there that needs to read it too. Maybe we both need the gentle reminder that our significance is not written in the headlines, but rooted in the ordinary work we are doing right now…in this moment…at the dinner table…in the bedtime prayers…in the middle of the meltdown…during those car ride conversations and marathon Lego days…in the tone of that email…or the slow pace of the project we’ve been overseeing. We need that little voice pulling us out of the drive for external significance and back into the precious gift of these ordinary days.

While the world craves more hype, more incentives to participate, more flash, more enticements and rewards, my heart is craving a more quiet and ordinary life. The world is temperamental…it shifts too quickly and too impulsively. The world (and this includes the church/ministry world) is becoming more and more addicted to performance – lights, cameras, action. Trying to keep up with it all creates instability, insecurity and a frenetic pace that eventually leads to burn out. I am, quite bluntly, less impressed with all the hype, glam and glitz, and more drawn to the daily and consistent rhythms of the ordinary.

The world is saying, “Speed up!” and my heart is saying, “Slow down!”.

Christ’s life was, in many regards, ordinary. He talked to his followers, not about how to build a platform or create a movement, but about bearing the weight of the cross. His invitation was to pick up their cross and follow him, and through the New Testament Scriptures, we know where that path led them…not to fame, fortune or a flashy title, but to suffering, marginalization, and death. The ordinary means – producing extraordinary fruit – of walking with people, listening, daily discipleship and the cross of suffering was, and still is, the way of Christ.

Obedience to God’s ways of bringing about the kingdom is the only way, even when those ways seem small, obscure, and weak. Even when no one notices. Even when our kingdom work can’t be captured and packaged for a ready-made inspirational social media update. Someone earnestly desiring to do great things for God can have all the right motives but all the wrong mechanisms. Jesus’ obedience tells us that mechanisms matter – if godly ends are pursued by ungodly means, the whole project will be ruined.

Katelyn Beaty, Celebrities for Jesus

I have thought a lot about the cost of obedience and the return to the ordinary.

Obedience is, in the very truest sense, letting go of our own will and surrendering it to Jesus. There is nothing very glamourous about that. We step off of platforms rather than hoist ourselves up to be seen.

There are men and women caught up in the fast running current of trying to find significance through extraordinary means. There are a great number, I can only imagine, that want to do great things for God, and wrestle with the ordinary days in which they are living. There is an altruistic desire to please God, while at the same time a fear that a hidden life in Christ will amount to being forgotten by the world.

And yet, if we really want to get down to it…to the reality of what following and serving Christ is all about it comes to this:

He must become greater; I must become less.

John 3:30

That statement: I must become less, is not a directive to become less than who God has created you to be; that somehow wallowing in the dirt and lowering oneself to nothingness is the key to pleasing God. But rather, becoming less is putting ourselves in the right order and right place with God. It is releasing the striving and driving towards worldly acceptance and acknowledgement into God’s hands, and taking the ordinary tasks that he gives us each day and carrying them out to the best of our ability so that God gets the glory…God gets the greatness…so that God is seen above our talents, gifts and charisma.

In my ordinary days I find such encouragement when I see that God is using me to disciple and shape our children to follow Christ. That’s a big deal. It’s not always visible to the outside world. This is a slow and weighty work.

Your ordinary will look different than mine, but it is incredibly significant. It is the means by which God will do extraordinary things. It may never make the headlines, and it may never evoke a rush on social media, but if your ordinary work points the world to Christ and brings Him glory, then it is extraordinary.

The significance of the ordinary is not how amazingly we can do it, or how creatively we can brand it; the significance is that this is how God chooses to do his most astounding work; His quiet, steady, and world-changing work. He uses you and me. He takes the materials in our hands, the season of our lives, our brokenness and all of our flaws, and says, “Follow me.”

Stop striving.

Slow down.

Let the God do the extraordinary through our ordinariness.

It is God who makes us significant, not all the kingdoms we create.

Rest in that.

And rest in the precious gift of these ordinary days.

persistence in prayer


They shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Matthew 20:29

Jesus was walking, talking, and teaching as was customary in Palestine for a Rabbi to teach as well as walk with their followers. Christ’s “students” were trying ever-so-hard to listen, straining their ears to hear what Jesus was saying, as two blind men were crying and pleading for Jesus’ attention.

These beggars were being disruptive and distracting.

The crowd was frustrated and told them to be quiet. There was no space in this paradigm for these men to have access to Jesus. But that did not restrain them. While the crowd tried to silence their pleas, they persisted. Rather than back off, they cried out louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

Can you imagine?

Have you ever been so desperate as to lose all sense of your status and place in society, to shed all decorum and comportment, that you would be willing to cry out, above the shushing crowd, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”?

What a sight that must of have been! I’ve been trying to imagine it in our post-modern, year-2023, world. The underprivileged or the over-privileged, stepping out of their subsequent roles, and being so desperate for Jesus that they would be willing to become the object of annoyance or shame from society. These two blind men, when given even the slightest hope of contact with the Messiah, did not sit back in unspoken, passive hope that Jesus would see them and notice them, but they cried out persistently for the attention of the Son of David. Would I be willing to do the same if I thought there might be a chance that Jesus could change my life?

While the crowd rebuked, Jesus stopped. He paused. He listened. He noticed. And he called them to come.

“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. Matthew 20:32

Such a fascinating question: What do you want me to do for you?

It seems obvious, doesn’t it? “I’m blind. What do you think I want you to do for me?”

Blindness in that time and context relegated these men to a life of poverty. There were no government programs or schools for the blind, benefits or books written in braille, no therapies or medical technologies that a blind person could access in order to help them integrate into society. They had nothing.

Their persistence was understandable. And yet, Jesus still asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Matthew 20:33

They stated what they wanted- clearly and simply. There was no pause, no trying to find the right words, no guilt or shame.

They wanted to see.

Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. Matthew 20:34

The blind men were so desperate that they had no problem causing a disturbance. They knew Jesus could heal them, and they couldn’t remain silent. When Jesus asked them what they wanted, he already knew, but he wanted them to declare it. Rather than hold this longing in their hearts and minds, Jesus’ question pushed them to speak out loud, and subsequently declare, that Jesus was the true Messiah, the only person who could meet this particular need. Their cries were not for money, which they could get from any passerby, but their cries were for healing, which could only come from a Savior.

And not just healing in the broad sense, but the request was very specific.  There was no ambiguity. They didn’t just ask Jesus to heal them; they were direct and said they wanted their sight.

Then, Jesus had compassion on them. Jesus looked at these two blind men, and his heart was moved. Out of compassion, Jesus touched them. He didn’t lay a hand on their heads or shoulders or hold their hands, but rather, he touched them where their need was – he touched their eyes, and they received their sight.

His compassion touched them at their point of need.

The persistence of these two blind men opened the opportunity for Christ to meet them – in their darkness – and heal them in a very specific and meaningful way. I suppose any healing from Christ would be meaningful, but that Jesus’ touch was so intentional, so directly on the point of pain, makes this miracle incredibly significant to the ones who received it.

As I’ve contemplated this story, I find myself encouraged to persist in prayer. To continue to reach out, cry out, and shout out as loudly as I can, to the One who can heal…to the one who can place his hands on the wounds of my life, and bring the restoration, the healing and the completeness that I need.

I think that we stop too soon in our prayers. I think we get discouraged when it seems that Jesus cannot hear us above the crowd. And I wonder if we just grow weary of asking. But what I believe this story tells us is that Jesus’ heart is for us, and his compassion moves us to him.

I cannot make a guarantee to anyone that if you just pray more persistently, the blind will see, the dead will rise, and the sick will be healed, but I can promise that the more we persist in our pursuit of Jesus – Son of David, Messiah and Savior – he will be there, and he will touch us. There is no question about that. His healing runs far deeper than our physical pains, wounds and disabilities. His healing makes us whole from the inside out.

I suppose we are all very much the two blind men in this miraculous story. However, our blindness is not physical, and our desperate pleas are not that we would be able to see trees and faces, animals and sky. But the healing we need is for the spiritual darkness to be lifted and our hearts to fully see Christ as our Savior. This is healing from the inside out. This is truly seeing. And this comes through our persistent prayers.

A mouth open in unceasing prayer will result in open eyes that see faith clearly. So, pray in the darkness, even if there seems to be no hope of light. When God, who is light, moves a poor sinner to plead and cry out with the commitment to continue until the blessing comes, he doesn’t even consider disregarding that poor crying heart. Perseverance in prayer is a sure sign that the day of opening the eyes of the blind is near.

Charles H. Spurgeon, “Life in Christ: Lessons from Our Lord’s Miracles and Parables”

Pray. Pray. And keep on praying.

Be persistent in prayer.

Trust God with the outcome.

His compassion will touch you, too, at your point of need.



As I watched the clock strike midnight, its hand leaving 2021 and tick-tock-ticking its way into 2022, I felt a wave of relief. Covid and transition left me feeling kind of empty. Rather than enter the new year with a bang, I mostly coasted in on fumes.

I came down with a fever on Christmas Day and spent the following week either in bed or on the couch. Sydney was with us for a very short period of time, and I desperately wanted to spend as much time with her as possible, in spite of the flu. By the time New Years’ Day arrived, my days were mush as I spent the first week of 2022 packing Christmas away and catching up on life.

My word for 2022 was “Whole”. As a family, we were on a trajectory of healing…processing and working through some hard-to-articulate wounds from the past few years. Joel and I both sensed, individually, that God had a very personal work he wanted to do in us and in our family. And he did just that. While I can’t say it was all neat and orderly, God was very much at work. There were many moments throughout 2022 that I honestly wondered what in the world God was doing because his work did not look like healing or wholeness. Yet, as I reflect on the year past, I do see God’s hand, and his handiwork.

Miracles happened. Not the big and audacious kind that we love to talk about, but the small and internal kind that water deeper growth and spiritual resilience. The kind of miracles that don’t always elicit external awe.

Miracles are still happening. Healing is a process, and it is still in process. I wish I could boast of some grandiose moment of instantaneous healing, but that is not the way in which God has chosen to work. Rather, he is taking our lives, moment-by-moment, and awaking our hearts to not just find personal healing, but to have an awareness of the much-needed healing in the lives of others. His work is never just for “us”, but for his glory and the benefit of others. If my pain can be a catalyst for connection and healing of another, then this pain is worth it all.

And it is not just the heart wounds that God uses, but the physical deficiencies that plague our bodies. Jackson, as we have openly shared, deals with a genetic eye condition by which his optic nerve is slowly atrophying which has caused significant visual impairment. Because we believe that God is a God who heals, we have prayed for complete healing. This supernatural kind of healing has not come. This is not to indicate that I have lost faith in God’s capabilities, but it is our present reality. I still pray and believe for healing, but likewise, I am praying God’s will…his most perfect will to be done in the life of Jackson…whatever that may look like.

I’ve asked myself multiple times this past year: “What if…”

What if the miracle is not Jackson’s eyesight being restored, but rather the miracle is learning to trust God’s goodness regardless of the outcome of our prayers? What if the greatest miracle of all in Jackson’s story is spiritual insight and sensitivity rather than physical sight?

What if our current circumstances do not change, or – even worse – get harder, do I still believe and trust that God is good?

What if the hope of seeing our dreams unfold never materializes? Can I still hold on to Jesus and trust his plan? Is Jesus really enough for me? Is this the miracle we are waiting for…simply Jesus?

The awe and wonder this side of 2022 is that Jesus never left us; his hand was always in the middle of the process.

The miracle of “wholeness” was not the absence of disappointment.

The miracle of “wholeness” was God’s complete presence in the midst of a really hard year.

Perhaps the most audacious prayer we can pray is, “God, give me the grace to accept hard things, give me the strength to endure unmet expectations, and give me your joy in perseverance.”

The miracle is not all the big answers to prayers.

The miracle is God’s grace, strength and joy in spite of our circumstances. It is Christ’s character being formed in us, and in turn, conforming our desires to his desires.

This truly is a miracle.

recalibrate – 2023



New year. New word. New focus.

This year my word is “Recalibrate”.

“Recalibrate” is not a word that I particularly like. It doesn’t immediately jump out to me or inspire me. It’s the kind of word that Joel would choose, or my dad. To me, it sounds very masculine, not very poetic (and I love poetic words!).

Still, at the beginning of December, when my thoughts turned to the anticipation of a new year, this word kept coming to mind. I couldn’t shake it. And when I slowed down long enough to look a little more intentionally at the word “recalibrate”, I started to see its significance for my life.

In order to appreciate the meaning of “recalibrate”, we have to take a look its root word: “calibrate”.

Calibrate is a verb. It indicates the act of measuring something. Merriam-Webster defines “calibrate” as “to make standard (as a measuring instrument) by finding out and correcting for the differences from an accepted or ideal value”.

In other words, when we calibrate something, we are looking at an accepted value and then correcting what we have in order to fit that ideal. When this something begins to slip off track, when it drifts off course, we do the act of recalibratinggetting it back on track.

I think the most significant part of the definition is looking at the “ideal value”. I have to ask myself, what is the “ideal value” that I am recalibrating myself to? This is something to ponder.

In our noisy world, polluted with opinions, self-help books and podcasts all declaring their own ideal value, it is critical to pull away from it all in order to gain clarity. The true picture of what is ideal can get fuzzy if we are looking into our culture for direction. The ideal value will never be found in a program or a person. Man-made ideals will continuously leave us fractured and inadequate. Cultures and systems and structures built around personalities and preferences will only lead to discouragement, fallout and failure. People get hurt in personality-driven ideals.

So, where do we find this “ideal value”? To what are we calibrating and recalibrating ourselves? We have definitely drifted off course, so what do we do and where do we go from here?

In the process of growing up…getting older (and hopefully wiser), I am more and more convinced that the simplicity of God’s word is the compass that keeps us on the trajectory of our true north…our true path…our ideal value. Even as a Christ-follower, it is easy to veer off and into ideals that are not truly God’s ideal. They may not be bad, but they are not the best.

To find the “ideal value” we look to the “ideal”, and that is Jesus Christ. If you are a Christ- follower, like me, then the Holy Spirit dwells within us. We are image bearers of our Savior. The Bible tells us that the world will know us by our fruit. The outpouring of our lives should be the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). Christ embodied each one of these…he was a living picture of the fruit of the Spirit. Our “ideal value” is to be the same…to pursue a life that models Christ, and Christ alone.

We must re-calibrate to Christ’s “ideal value”.

In addition to this, Christ has given us the priceless gift of discernment: the Holy Spirit. I worry that this gift has gotten shoved into a corner and is becoming more and more obsolete in our fast-paced world that yearns for instant gratification and celebrity platforms. Discernment calls us to pause, pray, and consider. We can’t rush wisdom and discernment. We have to be willing to patiently wait as God brings clarity and peace.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.

John 16:13

The gift of discernment is the act of listening to that still, small voice inside of us (the Holy Spirit) that warns us when something is off, that brings conviction when we have veered off course, and leads us gently along the path that God has prepared for us – it is the gift of truth. The Holy Spirit guides us in all truth, which sets us free as we follow Christ. This discernment ensures that we are calibrated to the “ideal value”; it is the “measuring instrument” that keeps us on course. We cannot do this life, this God-honoring work of discipleship, without it.

And this is where, and to what, I feel driven to recalibrate. This obedience – a long obedience in the same direction (Eugene Peterson) – to the leading, prompting, directing and ministry of the Holy Spirit within me. This is not some super-spooky-natural new age practice. It is, frankly, the fundamentals of living the Christian life. And this is where I sense the Lord leading me. Recalibrate to the “ideal value”, which is Jesus Christ. No more people pleasing, no more playing a role that doesn’t fit, and no more living outside my values. This year will be about listening more intentionally to the still, small voice inside of me, and recalibrating my attention and my life to God’s ideal value.

And, my hope and sincere desire, is to open up my heart and share very transparently my journey here. If you have been broken, my prayer is that, in this space, you will find a safe place to land. If you have been hurt, may you find refuge and healing through Jesus Christ, and in the safety of this community. And if you, too, feel the urgency to recalibrate, may grace abound as you seek to follow and obey, to set your eyes on the ideal value, and allow the Holy Spirit to do His ongoing work of aligning you to the truth. This year promises blessings and challenges. And it also promises God’s faithfulness and goodness each step of the way.

Recalibrating in 2023.



Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

Christmas is here, and I find myself wondering: how did that happen? Did we really plow through twelve months of rainy seasons, dry seasons, cold seasons, heat, flooding, traffic jams, school days, sport events, haircuts, doctor’s appointments, and all the little things crammed into the open spaces of our calendars? How is that even possible?

And yet, here we are. Another year. Another Christmas.

In some ways, it has gone by very quickly; in other ways, it has felt incredibly slow and arduous.

I’m going to be honest. I am weary. I’ve been living in “weary” for quite some time. I need rest. My soul needs rest, and I am finding glimpses of freedom in acknowledging this. My defenses are down. I’m becoming comfortable with this reality.

While I’m not waving a flag of victory and dancing my way into Christmas- and the year ahead- I am consciously more settled in my soul – now more than ever – with the conviction that God is God, and I am not. The flag I am waving looks more like surrender. My role in this grand story is to live a life honoring and representing Christ in the best and most authentic way possible. And the way I can do this is to take his yoke upon myself – to learn from him the deeper practice of trust and resiliency – and to keep my gaze fixed on Christ.

I want my life marked, not by doing everything perfectly, or handling each challenging situation without flaw or with a track record of exceptional strength, but marked by working out my faith in weakness and humility, surrender to God, and never giving up. In the weariness, there is rest.

Jesus calls the weary to himself. He does not call the self-sufficient, nor those with the proper religious credentials or perfect, Instagram-able lives. He calls those exhausted from toil, from just getting through the day. He calls those burdened with heavy loads, those weighed down by sin and sorrow. It is these, not the confident and successful, to whom Jesus says, “Come to me.”

Prayer in the Night, by Tish Harrison Warren

It has been a year, and I need Immanuel. I need his closeness…his nearness.

Weary and worn, my hope…my peace…my joy and my heart are living in the childlike wonder that Immanuel is here – that his promise to never leave us is a promise kept, and that his invitation to “Come” has not expired.

Throughout this Advent season we’ve made space to reflect upon the hope we have in Christ’s promise, the peace that anchors us in a world of chaos and sin, the joy as we look to something – Someone – greater to come, and the delight in being so loved by our Savior. We’ve welcomed the anticipation and we’ve leaned in hard to the steadfast truth that holds us in our weariness.

Today is Christmas Day. The long-awaited Messiah has arrived. We no longer wait in suffering and silence but hold his promises close.

He says “Come” to the burned out, the broken, the tired, the hurt, the grieving and the hopeful. He is the Savior for the weary, the long-suffering and the lost. And he invites us to take his yoke…to learn and trust…to rest in his presence.

He is God with us.


so loved – advent 2022



For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

For God so loved…

The word “so”, when used as an adverb, can have a few different meanings. It can express the degree or extent of something, or it can also declare something that is definite. For example: “The music is so loud”, or “The volume of the music must be just so”.

One statement is expressing the extremeness of the sound of music playing, while the other is declaring the absoluteness of what level the volume of the music must be.

In this Scripture, both meanings can be applied.

As a way of expressing the extent of God’s love, we can read it as “God loved so much – so intensely and so extremely – that he gave…” As a definitive statement, we can read it as “There is no question about God’s love, it is just so, and therefore he gave…”

Either way, we recognize that God loved us extremely and most purposefully, and because of this intense and absolute love, he gave his most precious possession: his one and only Son.

Have you ever been loved like that? Maybe you have a person in your life that loves you so completely that they would be willing to give their most precious possession to you, or even further, they would die for you. If so, that is a gift. But would they be willing to give, or to die, for all? Is their love so expansive and perfect that they would lay down their own life for that of a stranger, a sinner, or someone they don’t particularly like? To be so loved by One who knows the faults and the sins of all of us is a love I don’t think any of us can begin to fathom. And not one single human being on this earth can honestly say we can so love in the same way.

It (John 3:16) tells us of the width of the love of God. It was the world that God so loved. It was not a nation; it was not the good people; it was not only the people who loved him; it was the world. The unlovable and the unlovely, the lonely who have no one else to love them, the man who loves God and the man who never thinks of him, the man who rests in the love of God and the man who spurns it–all are included in this vast inclusive love of God. As Augustine had it: “God loves each one of us as if there was only one of us to love.”

William Barclay’s The Daily Study Bible Series, Revised Edition.

God so loved all.

This kind of love is beyond comprehension.

This kind of love causes our hearts to pound in our chests, especially when we begin grasp the enormity of it all.

This kind of love should move us…compel us…humble us…to shed our pride, our broken systems, and our preferences, and love sacrificially.

This kind of love should undo us…wreck us…change us.

Christmas is just the beginning of the love story between Christ and mankind. It was the spark that ignited a new era of love between God and his people. It was the fulfillment of prophecy and law. It was Immanuel. It was God with us. No longer far off and distant, this love came down, in the form of a human – a tiny, precious baby – and was among us. Flesh and bone, eye-to-eye, rubbing up alongside the world, feeling our feelings, carrying our sorrows and soothing our pain. He came because he so loved.

Christ’s arrival was the start of a journey that eventually led to the cross. His mission was set. There was no other way. Wrapped in swaddling clothes, the story of redemption made its way into our fractured world. Love was born. A love that had never been experienced on earth before invaded the darkness, stepped into our brokenness, and extended itself to any who would accept it and believe.

So loved.

I have been reflecting on this love for several weeks. How has being so loved by God changed me? What evidence is there in my life that reflects this kind of love? And what is my response?

To be so loved does demand a response. Not because this is a conditional kind of love, but because such an unconditional expression of love compels us.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

John 3:17-18

When our hearts come face-to-face with this extravagant and unconditional love, they are required to make a choice: believe it or deny it. There really is no middle ground. We are either compelled to embrace this love with belief and obedience, or we choose not to accept this reality. This love demands a response, and there are only two options.

If, when a man is confronted with Jesus, his soul responds to that wonder and beauty, he is on the way to salvation. But if, when he is confronted with Jesus, he sees nothing lovely, he stands condemned. His reaction has condemned him. God sent Jesus in love. He sent him for that man’s salvation; but that which was sent in love has become a condemnation. It is not God who has condemned the man; God only loved him; the man has condemned himself.

William Barclay’s The Daily Study Bible Series, Revised Edition.

Beyond believing and accepting the One who lavished this love on mankind, being so loved drives us to do something. We don’t do in order to receive God’s love. We do as a result of God’s love. So, what do we do? What are the actions that follow acceptance?

We obey.

We love.

We follow Christ.

We put on humility.

We give.

We die to self.

I think those of us who struggle to obey, love, follow, show humility, give sacrificially and die to our selfish nature are those of us who have not truly grasped the love that God gave us on Christmas. We may mentally take note of it, but our hearts have yet to  receive it. Because being so loved should leave us trembling and aware of the depths God went to in order to save us and redeem us and draw us back to himself. It is too powerful to not be transformed.

For Christ’s love compels us.

2 Corinthians 5:14

What about you? Are you wrestling to even accept and acknowledge Christ’s love for you? Have you yet to receive it, believe and enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ?

If so, what it holding you back? Are there fears or past hurts that seem to stand between you and redemption?

Maybe you have accepted this love, but you struggle to truly embrace its power and extravagance. You are carrying around a lot of fear and wounds, and it is hard to comprehend being so loved. And, in turn, it is difficult to express this unconditional love to others.

Without shame and without pressure, can I just encourage you to consider just how much God loves you right now – imperfect and flawed? Just take a moment to sit in that space…reflecting on how it feels to be so loved.

God didn’t send his son, Jesus, for a privileged few. He sent Jesus for all. God wasn’t, and still isn’t, looking for a perfect person upon whom he can lavish his undeserving love. Jesus came for the lovely and the unlovely. He came for the Abraham’s and the King David’s. He came for the Tamar’s and the Rahab’s. He came for the Jews and the Gentiles.

He came for the rest of us – for all of us.

And all he asks for is our hearts…our obedience…our trust…and our willingness to give his love to others in return.

Christmas is coming. In just a few short days we will gather with family, or attend a church service, and – perhaps – engage in traditions, old and new. As we anticipate the culmination of this season of Advent in the warmth and joy of Christmas Day, may our hearts be further challenged to receive and give this incredible gift of being so loved. Without pause, may we be quick to give our lives in obedience and embrace those who Christ also came to save. What a very different world this would be if we could simply live as so loved.

What can I give Him,

Poor as I am? –

If I were a Shepherd

I would bring a lamb;

If I were a Wise Man

I would do my part, -

Yet what I can I give Him, -

Give my heart.

Christina Rosetti (1872)

joy complete – advent 2022



The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Troubled souls.

I can be included in that category. Troubled. Imperfect. Poor in spirit. In need of a Savior.

Hope and peace turn our hearts towards this “something greater to come”. We know that our hope is secure. We know that peace is Immanuel – God with us. And so, joy is birthed from the conviction that something – Someone – greater is coming.

Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress.

Isaiah 9:1

Isaiah prophesied that a time was coming when there “will be no more gloom”. He declared that a light would pierce the darkness, and the joy of mankind would increase.

He was prophesying the coming of the Messiah – Jesus Christ. Hope was imminent.

But first, there would be gloom and despair. Troubled souls, like yours and mine, would be waiting, hoping, wondering, and longing. Like the beloved hymn states: “Long lay the world in sin and error pining”.

Mankind was in need of a Savior.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

Isaiah 9:2

But, finally, light broke through the wall of thick darkness. The weary world was shaken to attention. The announcement to the shepherds, the star that guided the wise men, it was a most significant event – the dawning of the Messiah.

You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.

Isaiah 9:2

This event…this light dawning, would be more than a beautiful sunrise. It would be more than a bright and shining star. It was a promise that something greater would cause troubled souls to rejoice. It was likened to reaping a harvest or a great feat by a warrior. It was going to bring a kind of joy that would increase and expand everything in their small and gloomy world. It was a moment that would take the crazy and the chaos, the messy and the out-of-order, and bring everything – all creation – into wholeness and completeness.

Mankind is still in need of a Savior.

Christ came, and he brought his perfect peace, but not every soul has grasped it. There are still so many walking daily in the darkness and gloom. They have yet to experience the joy of Christ’s light. They are trying so hard to put things in order in their own power. They live as though the promise of hope has yet to come.

I think we can all be found guilty of this, if we were honest. We forget that Christ came, and his light gives us everything we need to rejoice. We forget that he is coming again. We lose that anticipation of the second coming. Our joy wanes in the heaviness of the here and now.

But when we recognize that our souls are troubled, that our own imperfections cloud the truth, then we are on our way to being transformed by the Light shining in the darkness.

If you have not felt the troubledness of your soul, then you cannot truly experience the joy of Christmas…the hope of what is to come. If you are hardened to the true condition of humanity, and you live blinded to the gloom and despair, then the reality of Christmas, and the light that shot down from heaven to earth – illuminating everything – will be sadly lost on you. Christmas will only amount to trees and tinsel and presents and unmet longing. We must acknowledge our troubled souls in order to appreciate and grasp the enormity of Christ’s humble arrival over 2000 years ago, and his imminent return. There is no greater joy than the promise that Christ fulfilled, and the promise yet to come. This Advent is a celebration of what has already come to pass, and what is most surely on its way…Christ has come, and he is coming again!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.

Isaiah 9:6,7

Christ is with us. He is Immanuel.

There is joy in his presence.

And Christ is coming again.

The Advent of his coming makes our joy complete.

I am looking for something…for Someone…greater to come.

Jesus Christ…Savior and Messiah.

Are you, too, a troubled soul? Have you had a moment of spiritual amnesia? Have you forgotten Immanuel?

Are you struggling to put your life, this world, back into order? Are you weary?

Reflecting on the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy what brings you hope, peace and joy? Can you connect the dots beginning with the promise fulfilled which leads to the promise of Christ’s second coming?

Is your joy complete in Christ? If not, what do you need to release right now in order to experience the hope, peace and joy that Christ has to offer you?

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious mor

Placide Cappeau



Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:27

Peace is hard to come by. In our world, it is difficult to find a point of agreement on just about anything: politics, religion, philosophical beliefs on topics ranging from parenting to leadership to morality to social justice. We just can’t seem to find common ground, even on the fundamentals. The truth is, there has never been a time in history when we all agreed on every matter and every point of view. There have always been conflicting thoughts, opinions, and perspectives. That is life. However, never before has there been such animosity, hatred, and the absence of peace in the midst of our differences. It’s not that we can’t get along or find common ground. It’s that we won’t.

Interestingly, we all long for peace. And yet, in that longing, we create more and more of an atmosphere void of peace. We push so hard to get our point across – believing that peace will be attained by uniformity – that we sever relational strings that have long held us together.

I’ve often wondered what was it like during the four-hundred-year intertestamental time – that time between the Old Testament and the New Testament? What about it made Isaiah refer to it as a time of “darkness and fearful gloom”? What was happening?

The intertestamental time was a era fraught with conflict. The difference between this period following the Old Testament and the advent of Christ was that there was complete silence from God. There were no prophets speaking and warning, bringing God’s word to the people. There was no Jesus disrupting the status quo. There was nothing. No voice of conviction nor comfort. Just silence.

And in that silence was longing.

Judas Maccabeaus, the leader of the rebellion against the Seleucid king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes – who desecrated the Temple in order to impose Greek culture and religion onto the Jewish people – led the fight which eventually brought political freedom to the small nation of Israel. But this only lasted eighty years – the span of a life. The Roman empire, which was the ruling kingdom at the time of Christ’s birth, swiftly conquered the independent Judea.

The Hebrew word for peace, shalom (שׁלום) is derived from a root denoting wholeness or completeness, and its frame of reference throughout Jewish literature is bound up with the notion of shelemut, i.e. perfection.

Dr. Aviezer Ravitzky

From the final prophetic word to the time of Christ was around four-hundred-years. And even though Israel won their freedom for a short period of time within that long timeframe, there was still an emptiness.

The Maccabees attained a form of liberation, but even that was still considered, by the absence of documentation by the prophets, as a dark and fearful time. Why?

Because God was silent.

Imagine a world without God’s voice. Imagine no word from heaven. No Holy Spirit speaking and nudging hearts and minds.

Heaven was silent.

As much as man tried to restore peace, true peace had not yet come.

It wasn’t until Jesus Christ, the Messiah, entered into the story that peace – shalom (שׁלום) – illuminated the darkness and the gloom. Jesus was the embodiment of perfection, the heart of peace. And his peace brought wholeness and completeness.

Christ’s peace was not the manmade manufactured kind, and knowing that the disciples would encounter more gloom and darkness, He brought words of comfort:

My peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.

His peace is the assurance of his presence, his grace, his justice, and his truth. Christ wasn’t going to leave them in silence. He promised the Holy Spirit to them.

I do not give to you as the world gives.

He warned them that the peace the world will try to attain and put into practice will not suffice…it will leave them wanting. The world cannot give the kind of peace that aligns with perfection. Only God can.

Along with truth and justice, peace is among the most hallowed Jewish values.

Dr. Aviezer Ravitzky

In this season of “peace on earth, goodwill toward men” let us not confuse our earthly methods of creating and attaining peace to the kind of peace that Jesus promised to us. If we are looking to a political victory or a win in an argument, we are going to be sorely disappointed. That peace, the world’s peace, will never satisfy the longings of our hearts.

It is the assurance that Christ gives us, and we are reminded of every year as we anticipate the wonder of Christmas, of his presence, his voice, his coming again. We can hold on to that. In Christ’s kingdom, unlike all the ancient kingdoms come and gone, truth, justice and peace will reign. We can cling to that, and in the midst of this broken world, we can surely find peace.

In what, or in whom, are you looking for the promise of peace?

Christ promised us his peace, a peace that brings wholeness and completeness. As you anticipate the celebration of Christ’s birth, what facets of his character bring you peace?

What challenge are you facing that is causing anxiety for you today? How can Christ’s promise of peace bring a calm to your weary mind and heart? What hole in your life are you trying to fill yet failing to close the gap and achieve wholeness? What do you need to release to God today so that you can stand secure in his perfect peace?

Silent Night

Silent Night, Holy Night

All is calm, all is bright

Round yon virgin mother and child

Holy infant so tender and mild

Sleep in heavenly peace,

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Joseph Mohr

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