Uncharted Waters

Dec. 2, 2020

Scripture Readings

Like most of you, I’ve never celebrated Christmas in the middle of a pandemic. Who among us has? Most of 2020 has felt like a journey through uncharted waters, and this yuletide season will probably feel the same. Perhaps it will be good. We don’t know. It will certainly be different. 

Plenty of Bible characters sailed through uncharted waters, including those in the book of 1st John. Here the apostle writes to encourage new believers, who find their faith and understanding on shaky ground. They’ve heard the Good News of forgiveness and salvation. But doubts surrounding their identity in Christ, plus sin and the worries of the world, nibble away at their peace and contentment. And many Christians sometimes struggle in the same way today. 

Verse 3:2 says “We are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.” (NLT) So many of my favorite verses go like this. A promise is given, glimpses of a better place or state of being, something our faith can look forward to. But alongside the promise, there’s also an acknowledgment that the here and now is less than ideal, not what we would have chosen, not as good as it could be. The realist in me appreciates the honesty. The believer in me celebrates the hope. 

This holiday season may be subdued by a coronavirus, but it won’t be the end of the story. God has promised to take all believers, and his world, on a transforming journey, which we are still in the middle of. We shouldn’t be overly surprised at the gap between our expectations and current realities. No pandemic is necessary to illustrate this truth, as such a pattern has played out many times in the history of God’s people. When the tempests are over, he’s promised believers that things will ultimately work out for the best. We will see Jesus, be like him. We’ll finally see ourselves as we truly are, the best versions of who we were meant to be. Good news for us to hang on to this Christmas season indeed. 

 

Gareth Morgan

Gareth is a communications guy who has a heart for the world, especially for his wife and daughter.