A great tragedy and a gift.

As I do every time I come to the States for a visit, I am struggling.

It’s SO hard for me to see the lush, lavish, luxurious lifestyles of mostly everyone I see. It’s not even that people are trying to reward themselves with extravagance or something (well, maybe for some), but it’s the general attitude given off that “I deserve” fill in the blank, because “I” fill in the blank. It pains my heart to see person after person investing their time and resources into THINGS that, sooner or later, will simply fade away — and worse, will NEVER, EVER bring any true satisfaction to anyone’s weary, yet precious and valuable soul.

I feel an aching in my spirit for all these grown beings who desperately yearn for joy and fulfillment, yet who are walking right past Him everyday as they strive for things that only deepen the empty hole inside them. Millions upon millions of wandering sheep who’s ears have forgotten the voice of their Shepherd. The one and only Shepherd who will never leave them or give up on them. The One who came so they could have life in abundance, who sent His Spirit so they didn’t have to be alone in moments of fear and pain, the One who has promised to keep them warm in the storms and to protect them from the wolf.

But they have chosen instead to wander away from His voice, believing that without Him they would find freedom — and in their walking away they’ve only become lost and trapped. They feel like’s there’s nowhere to go, or believe they can’t return to Him because of what they have done… but He could want nothing more than for them to come back to receive His free gifts of love, comfort, joy, peace, guidance and fulfillment. He longs to walk with them in the most beautiful story they could ever imagine being written. A dream beyond any dream they have ever dreamt for their life.

Because the good Shepherd is the source of all that is GOOD. He invented goodness. He created BEAUTY. He manifested LOVE. He radiates with JOY. He beholds MERCY. He grants LIFE. He gives GRACE. His presence is PEACE. He leads to FREEDOM.

It all comes back to Him. He created it all in the beginning, and all of it will come back to Him in the end. In His story, the end is victory.

So, as I walk on earth this Christmas season; as my heart breaks for many here in this temporary world, I will choose to hold onto the One true HOPE that we have. I will set my eyes on the One who gives peace and freedom and TRUE, ABUNDANT LIFE. I will walk with Him through my pain and my storms, and I will listen for His voice, knowing that He is a good Shepherd who would never lead me astray. I will do my best to communicate His love and grace. I will do all I can to give gifts that lead to true, eternal life and peace and joy and FREEDOM.

Because there’s no greater tragedy than for a child who is loved to go on seeking love in all the wrong places.
There’s no greater sadness than for a slave who’s been granted freedom to go on living like they are still in chains.
There’s nothing more heartbreaking than for an orphan who’s been adopted into a family to go on living as though they are alone.
And there’s nothing more devastating than to see one who’s been offered a gift of abundant life continue to walk towards an empty life that leads to death.



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