The Hard Places

The amazing thing about Christmas is when we really look at the stable, when we really see the story, we realize the suffering. The suffering of Mary. The suffering of Joseph. We realize that God called them to do hard things. Because of their willingness to be used of God, they had to go to the hard places.

It doesn’t stop with the Christmas season. After all, Advent only leads us to Lent which points to the ministry of Jesus. He and his disciples were acquainted with sorrow. Remember that the murder had to take place before the resurrection. In our own journey of following Christ, we must know sorrow to be able to fully appreciate joy.  The birth of Jesus tells us that joy costs pain, but the pain is worth it. The crucifixion tells us that joy costs pain, but the pain is worth it. The pain brings life. It brings salvation to the world.

It is in our suffering and in our pain that we must trust in Him the most. That is the beauty of His love for His children. Even as our hearts rage within us, He stands, ever present, bringing good, and working His WORK through our pain.

Every day, we have a choice. We can stay nestled in our safe comfortable places. We can let fear cripple us. Or we can take a risk and go to the hard places He is calling us to. And through us, He will bring salvation to His people.

We’ve come to know Manuel and his wife Josefa in Guatemala.  Through really hard things and difficult circumstances Manuel has ministered to his community and blessed them in so many ways.  He’s blind and he has a kidney disease.  He’s poor and his family scrapes to get by.  But Manuel shares the love of Christ despite his crippling circumstances.  We set out to help Manuel and along with our friends and church family we raised the funds needed to provide Manuel with a home where he could receive in home dialysis.  We received the news a week or so later, just as construction was beginning on his new home, that Manuel passed away.  Now we are building this home in his memory for his widow and children.  God is working through the pain.

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