Holiday stressors can cause us to let go of God’s hand, writes Fuller Southwest student Nancy Frigaard; we must be willing to let him find us again.
For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you. --Isaiah 41:13
I lost God a couple of weeks ago. Sometime during the holiday rush, I looked up and I couldn’t see him anymore. It was like when I was a little kid at the grocery store, and I reached up to grab my mom’s hand and instead found the spotted, wrinkly hand of another woman. I instantly knew from its leathery feel that this was a stranger. I yanked my fingers from her arthritic grasp and ran off in a panic as she garbled out some words at me that I couldn’t understand. I only understood that I had lost the person who took care of me. How would I find my way home?
I can’t remember experiencing this sort of panic since the grocery store incident, and never with God. Losing God felt like emotional vertigo; nothing was secure. My faith had been strong and when life spun out of control, he had remained solid ground. But in the busy bustle of the holiday season, work, grad school, and ministry, I had let my hand slip from his and placed it elsewhere. I was desperate find him again.
The holidays can be filled with many stressors. It might be the busy pace, financial hardship, or finding ourselves lost in loneliness, mourning the death of a loved one. The sights and smells of Christmas may bring back a rush of emotion we feel inadequate or unready to cope with. Perhaps family get-togethers are full of tension and unresolved conflict. During this season of Advent, it is easy to find ourselves adrift in an ocean of hopelessness.
However, being lost in hopelessness is the very reason we can joyously anticipate, appreciate, and celebrate Advent, because the reality is that in Christ we have already been found! Luke 19:10 is a crucial reminder of the passionate purpose of the coming of Jesus: “For the son of man came to seek and save the lost.” There is little worse than the feeling of being abandoned, or left to our own demise. The wondrous answer to this dilemma is not whether we can find God, it is simply being willing to let him find us. In God’s great mercy he sent a seeker, a rescuer, a savior to extend a loving hand, in order to lead us home.