Christmas has always been my favorite season. After all, what's not to like? But this Christmas season is a bit different, as my celebration is muted because of the loss of someone precious to me.
What about you? It may be difficult for you, or someone you love, to celebrate this year. Burdens of loss, financial pressures, health complications or depression can build an impenetrable wall, brick by brick, separating you from the joy of the season. And yet, when you least expect it, God has a way of showing up.
He did it for me last week.
Someone I didn't know well took me aside at a holiday gathering. She shared how she had suffered from depression most of her life. When she attended my husband's memorial service this summer, she heard the story of his battle with depression. She also learned how God had healed him—not of his cancer, but of the depression he struggled with for decades.
My pastor closed the memorial service by doing something unexpected. He sensed the Holy Spirit prompting him to pray for the healing of those there who might be suffering from depression.
In her words, "Who goes to a memorial service to be healed of depression?"
Indeed. Who does?
But that day, God showed up unexpectedly. And four months later, she took me aside to share how she had not experienced a day of depression since the memorial service.
Two thousand years ago, God also showed up unexpectedly, this time in the life of a teenage girl. He showed up with news delivered by an angel—news that turned her life upside down, and then turned the world upside down. Or maybe a better description would be right side up! Still, the religious leaders of His day failed to see Him because they were convinced God would reveal Himself in a different way. They refused to consider the possibility that God might be moving in another direction.
God is still showing up unexpectedly. But if we're laser-focused on what we've decided He should do, we'll miss the work He wants to do in and through us.
Like my husband, you might be praying for healing in one area, only to learn God is at work in another area of your life.
Trust your heavenly Father to wrap you in His grace and surround you with His peace. Then trust Him to work sovereignly to fulfill His perfect purposes. You just might find He will give you what you need, when you need it.
Ava Pennington is a writer, speaker and Bible teacher. She writes for nationally circulated magazines and is published in 32 anthologies, including 25 "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books. She also authored Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, endorsed by Kay Arthur. Learn more at avawrites.com.
This article originally appeared at avawrites.com.
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