|I spent a few days recently returning to the delights of South East Devon ...
Christmas wish list
In 1846 former President John Quincy Adams suffered a stroke. Although he returned to Congress the following year, his health was clearly failing. Daniel Webster described his last meeting with Adams: "Someone, a friend of his, came in and made particular inquiry of his health. Adams answered, 'I inhabit a weak, frail, decayed tenement; battered by the winds and broken in upon by the storms, and from all I can learn, the landlord does not intend to repair.'"
I have a long Christmas wish list. It’s actually just my regular wish list that I adapt according to the time of year by adding the appropriate prefix (Christmas, birthday, Valentine’s Day, Anniversary, ‘Just-because-you-love-me,’ etc.). Neither me or my family can afford any of the items on my list, but they’re still on there. It’ll quite literally take a miracle for me to get any of them.
Sometimes we pray and ask and intercede as best we could, but nothing happens. It might seem that “the Landlord does not intend to repair,” whatever it is we want Him to ‘repair.’ We’ve all experienced this for ourselves in the last couple of months. Friends get ill. Loved ones pass away. People lose their jobs. There are times when our suffering, our grief and the deathly silences scream at us: “This is all there will ever be! The Landlord has no plans to repair! There is no hope anymore!”
But we serve the God of miracles. There is still hope. Not the kind of hope we make up to feel better, but the kind of hope that we place in a Saviour who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, regardless of our circumstances. The hope that if the Landlord does not intend to repair, He intends to replace. The hope that transcends death. The hope of a brighter future and new mercies for each day. The hope that makes Habakkuk pray:
“Even if the fig tree does not blossom and there are no grapes on the vines, if the olive trees fail to give fruit and the fields produce no food, if the flocks die far from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls; then I will still rejoice in the Eternal! I will rejoice in the God who saves me! The Eternal Lord is my strength! He has made my feet like the feet of a deer; He allows me to walk on high places.”
My prayer for each of us this Christmas is that we will get to know God. That we will get to experience His goodness and mercy. That we’ll get to see His power and protection. And when the world screams at us that we’re all alone, may we be reminded that He is Immanuel, God with us.
PS - If you want to contribute to striking things off my Christmas wish list, please get in touch …
Nico Marais (1 December 2017)
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