As I gaze out my window to the wintry wonderland, this recent snowfall serves as another reminder that we are in the midst of the holiday season. Cars drive slowly by houses decorated with strands of multicolored lights and nativity scenes sitting upon some of the front lawns. Inside, an elderly individual rocks endlessly in a chair, singing well-loved carols, while staring at the numerous ornaments hanging from the tree. Children of all ages leave smudges on window panes, hoping to glimpse Saint Nicholas flying through the sky. Within another home, a man hands a woman a small black box secured with a red ribbon, and she receives it graciously with a smile.
What about those of us who are struggling with this season? Grieving over the loss of a loved one this past year? Having to end a relationship due to incredible difficulties within it? Being bedridden and/or hospitalized due to an illness that appears to have an endless recovery? Feeling disconnected from those whom we love so dearly because of circumstances beyond our control?
As we wrestle through these issues as well as others, we may endure periods of extreme loneliness or even feeling abandoned. With these unbearable times, we may further display anger, frustration, selfishness, and self-pity—all revealing a “self” whom is not appealing. Recently, I read a “Daughters of Promise” devotional where the author Christine Wyrtzen stated, “What spills out during the times when I am stretched to my limit reflects the kind of faith I have cultivated previously. A well-known bible teacher said, ‘Who I am when hard times hit is really who I am.’ True! The words I speak during my most painful moments are a mirror that reflects the foundation of my life.” So, who is your true self? What serves as your “foundation of life” that assists you in overcoming the bleak moments?
While some may turn to family, friends, co-workers, and even possessions for comfort, others may run to the loving arms of the Lord, weeping and praying something like, “Why is all of this happening simultaneously? I am so frustrated and hurt! Where are You? Do You even care?’ Having recently treaded this deserted valley myself, I found myself praying with a seeking heart for a reason, and then appeared the image of His Son nailed to the cross, crying out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” There it was—an answer as clear as an empty crystal glass! While Christ Himself suffered separation from the Father, we will never have this encounter!
Hubert Van Zeller once commented, “The soul hardly ever realizes it, but whether he is a believer or not, his loneliness is really a homesickness for God.” Reflecting upon this quote and relishing in the Lord’s presence, my feelings of loneliness and abandonment subsided, for I became keenly aware of His omnipresent hand at my side and His drawing me closer to Him during this season. It further has allowed me to prayerfully support and encourage my loved ones through their own joys and trials, knowing only for a season that we will be apart and that the love will always remain fruitful.