Read: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2 (NIV)
Reflect: The birth of a child means a new beginning, and a hope-filled future. When I think of the birth of Jesus, these thoughts remain the same. This year, hope in the future and in God’s plans are what I am leaning into the most.
Earlier this month, our lives were flipped upside down when we learned that my father-in-law had Pancreatic Cancer. It was Friday evening, December 1 when my husband and I received the initial call from my father-in-law and sister-in-law in Nevada. Although the clear diagnosis hadn’t been made, we agreed that we would fight this battle together and assured my father-in-law that we would be by his side.
By Monday, we’d received a definitive diagnosis and a “call the oncologist for staging and treatment options” directive. We began mapping out what our lives might look like in the next year as we focused on ensuring my husband could travel to Nevada for appointments and any treatments they would schedule. What we didn’t plan for was how quickly things would progress. By Thursday evening, my father-in-law was in the ICU on life support. We, as a family, did not have the chance to fight the battle. It was over before we’d even begun to try. My father-in-law lost his battle with cancer on Friday, December 8th. It was a difficult day and has been difficult to process given the swift progression from diagnosis to the end of life. Every day I have found myself leaning into my relationship with God and asking for strength and peace through this difficult time. I know it will take time to heal, but I have faith that God is with us and I find peace in the hope that he brings.
React: Does the birth of Jesus give you a renewed hope for the New Year? What practices help you to lean into your faith in Jesus and the hope that he brings in difficult situations?
Pray: God, please help us to have faith in the hope and peace that you bring.