December 17, 2014


Luke 2:33-35

“A sword will pierce your own soul too.”
—Luke 2:35


Some people embrace an overly sweetened version of Christianity that suggests we will always be happy, never face conflict, and have a blissful existence because we believe in Jesus. I cringe when I hear someone say that if we have enough faith, we will never be sick, poor, or face struggles in life.

We can understand the appeal of such a message. The Old Testament prophets often looked forward to a time when justice would reign, harvests would be bountiful, and the poor would have plenty. God’s promises include the hope of an enduring joy that is free from sorrow and pain.

But the fulfillment of God’s plan does not come without pain. Even in the joyful time when Mary and Joseph were adjusting to parenthood, Simeon said there would be sorrow. His words foreshadowed the way of the cross that Jesus came to take up for us, to pay the price of our sin so that we could be saved.

We will experience disappointments as we strive to follow Christ in this world, and the sadness of those hardships should not be minimized. We don’t believe in a fantasy.

We do, however, believe that the promises of God will ultimately be fulfilled in Jesus Christ. We cling to Christ with the hope that his triumph will one day overwhelm the depth of the sadness we endure today.

Lord, comfort us with your presence in times of trial, and hasten the day when the Father’s promises will all be fulfilled. Come, Lord Jesus—come quickly! Amen.

About the author — Bill Sytsma

Bill Sytsma is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min). He is the author of the book Follow the Leader and is serving as the pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana. He and his wife, Staci, have hosted support groups for families built through adoption. He and Staci are the proud parents of three active boys: Luke, Isaac, and Nico.

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