It was like I’d been holding my breath for too long. I slurped in a big gasp of air and squeezed back tears fighting their way to the surface.

All because someone asked my nine-year-old what he wanted for Christmas.

His surprising response?

“Oh, I know! My left-side vision back!”

All the hard things we will ever have to face on earth, if we let them, will bring us back to the place where we ask ourselves the same question Adam and Eve did.

Is God really good?

We squeeze our fists tightly around promises like this one from Psalm 84:11 – 

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly. 

And then, life seems not good, and the serpent is right there whispering in our ear, “Did God really say…” which seems like a different way of asking, “Is God really good? Does God really love you?”

And the hard thing is, at some point in our lives, it’s probably going to feel like the answer to that question is “Nope.”

When you lose someone you love way too soon. Or you get the diagnosis that seems impossible to face.

Or your kid asks for something for Christmas you couldn’t give him, even if you had all the money in the world.

Our souls were created to live in a garden with God, in perfection, and sin shattered that perfect world. As C.S. Lewis put it: 

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. […] I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.” {Mere Christianity}

The tension we feel is appropriate and real: the world as you and I know it isn’t the world as it was meant to be.

As we begin this Advent season, we can remember the reason Christ came. The reason Jesus slipped into the world, a baby in a manger, was to begin the unraveling of all the wrongs, to invite us to join Him in that beautiful country yet to come, where no children go to sleep hungry, where hospitals don’t exist, where all the hurt comes untrue.

In the meantime, we learn to trust in God’s way: His is the postponement that makes the best become possible. 

If we can’t give our kids the thing they want most for Christmas this year…

Or we can’t see the people we want most this year…

Or things just aren’t how we want them to be this year…

we can choose to believe God doesn’t withhold good things. He is actively with us here, always, always God with us, always always writing a better story than we could ask for or imagine.

P.S. If you haven’t already, I’d love to welcome you to grab the Hassle-Free Holiday Guide I created to help you organize the to-do’s around this season so that you can enjoy the moments that make it most meaningful. It’s free… and it’s pretty darn helpful! Merry Christmas!

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