Your troubles will not overwhelm you... the hard trials that come will not hurt you. Isaiah 43:2
The church is always tempted to give easy answers to hard questions. Jesus did not say he was the answer. He said he was the way (John 14:6). As Maya Angelou put it in one of her poems, "When I say 'I am a Christian'/I'm not shouting 'I am saved.'/I'm whispering 'I get lost'/ That is why I chose this way.... " Faith is not the absence of doubt--or of heartache--but the willingness to be honest about it. A good way to prepare for the coming of Christ is to acknowledge heartache and doubt. In a Christmas card, stables glow, the cows don't smell, and it always looks soft for the baby Jesus. But Jesus was born in a real stable. There was no room in a more pleasant place. And so with us. Jesus becomes real, not simply amid warmth and happiness, but during hard times. And what turns out to matter more than answers is the assurance that we're not alone, there's nothing so strange about us--and we're on the right way.
Prayer: "Redeemer come! I open wide my heart to you; here, Christ abide! Let me your inner presence feel; your grace and love in me reveal." Amen.