The Anchor of Hope (124)

Psalm 68:5-6  


A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation.  (6)  God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land. 


Ok, I admit it.  Jenny and I have been fighting the blues so far this Christmas season.  Christmas has always been a time for going home and being with family.  My family’s home in Tennessee has been that focal point every Christmas my entire life and our entire married lives.  It never seemed like Christmas was complete until we walked through the door at 819 McHann Drive.  Last year, nineteen people, all the immediate family except for my eldest son and his family in Texas, were there.  My dad, though his mind was ravaged by dementia, was awake, alert, and enjoying the festivities and conversation around him.  But it is vastly different this year.  My dad passed away in May, and the family home has been emptied out and, just this week, was listed for sale.


And it’s this change in circumstances that has caused us to feel as if we have been set adrift in an uncharted sea.  A page has been turned that can not be read again.  Kind of depressing, isn’t it?  No wonder that Christmas, which is supposed to be one of the happiest days of the year, focused on loved ones and the birth of the Savior, is also a time when suicides reach a peak in our country each year.  Don’t get me wrong.  We are not so down as to contemplate that path; however others do, who are grieving a loss of  Christmas past or a Christmas hoped for.


While the contrast between anticipated joy and real grief is most keenly felt at this time of the year, the verses above remind us of the comfort and help God brings to us in times of need.  Do you need an intimate relationship?  He is your Father.  Do you need a righteous defender?  He rules as a sympathetic judge when you are most vulnerable.  Are you alone without a place to go?  He provides a home.  Are you trapped in your circumstances?  Note that the freedom He provides leads to prosperity – certainly spiritual, but sometimes emotional, mental, and material as well. In all four cases above, the person for whom God provides is without human support – no parent, no spouse, no one.  The last one even has those who are  actively against him: “prisoner” implies an accuser and a jailer.  Thus a Christian is promised support that is not available to the unbeliever (“Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.”).


This divine support comes from the personal intervention of God Himself.  And if He has promised sufficient help to the worst of all cases, no matter what day of the year it is, He can certainly supply His help to all lesser situations.  Whether we feel adrift in a sea of circumstances, or going through a vicious storm that is tearing at your soul, your feelings, while real, are not the end of the matter.  God is.  He defines reality.  He has promised His help to His people.  And a little baby in a manger over 2000 years ago is the ultimate proof of that help.


Lastly, many times God will work through His people to be the instruments of His help.  Knowing that there is so much pain and depression, especially during this time of the year, look to be His instruments of love and encouragement in this fallen world.  You do not know what other people are dealing with in their own lives.  Pray to be aware of others in need.  Take time to say a kind word.  Praise those retail employees who help you.  Be generous with your love.  And, in so doing, you may be God’s provision for a person in desperate need of what you have to give.


Merry Christmas!

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