This time of the year may be the most wonderful time for many people, but for some it is a time of sorrow, regret, and stress. This is the time of the year the Christian Church looks toward the promise of Advent. A promise of the return of the Lord.
Yet, when I look to the prophets of the past, I find that hoping for the Day of the Lord, is not always a pleasant promise or one of a celebratory perspective.
What a terrible day! The day of the LORD is near; it comes like chaos from the Almighty. (Joel 1:15 CEB)
Doom to those who desire the day of the LORD! Why do you want the day of the LORD? It is darkness, not light; (Amos 5:18 CEB)
The great day of the LORD is near; it is near and coming very quickly. The sound of the day of the LORD is bitter. A warrior screams there. (Zeph. 1:14 CEB)
Look, I am sending Elijah the prophet to you, before the great and terrifying day of the LORD arrives. (Mal. 4:5 CEB)
Now if it seems like I am saying I am not looking forward to the possibility of be accepted by the Lord, I am not. The hope of heaven is the only really hope we have as human beings. What I am saying is I believe Advent needs to be set in the context of not just anticipation, but also in the reality of the Job-like experience some/many people, even Christian people, live.
So, day in and out,
He ran from the doubt,
Never finding earthly peace,
Or any sustained release,
Just seeking to cope,
In the absence of human hope.
Oh, when will come the day,
When at last in the grave
He will lay?
Advent was a sobering season in the past. The season was so serious, the Church felt in necessary to add a pink candle and have one Lord’s day focus on joy. I fully agree that people need to have times of joy, still, for some any joy is a fleeting, frustrating, and at times futile endeavor.
Yes, I know this post if dark. And no, this author is not in a state of absolute despair (well maybe 97%) and in no way, would consider the even remote possibility of ending life through a self-action.
No matter, even when pain is a constant companion, even when a person feels like the world would be better without them and it could not get worse, be assured it can!
I cannot image, or perhaps I dare not image, what it would be like trying to explain to God why you felt like you had to right to decide to end your own life. There is no excuse or explanation for something so selfish. This is true especially in the light of what God incarnate, Jesus, endured because of human life’s value. What pain could be greater than injustice, betrayal, humiliation, abandonment, crucifixion and descent into hell? Even in the worst darkness, we have no idea.
I am writing this post so that those who read it and are struggling with the feelings this season can stir and aggravate know they are not alone and that it is okay to not feel compelled to be happy, joyful when you are supposed to be (or at least pretend to be) and it is alright to cry out to God, “Perish the day I was born, the night someone said, “”A boy has been conceived.”” That day– let it be darkness; may God above ignore it, and light not shine on it. (Job 3:3-4 CEB)
What is important for those who hope is to one day be accepted into the presence of our Lord is to remain vigilant and endure knowing, “I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us.” (Rom. 8:18 CEB)