Unexpected Journeys ~ Advent 2017
Then he said to them all, "Those who would come after me must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."
~ Luke 9: 23
I must admit, I have been on several journeys this week.
I spent the early morning hours one day this week with teenage parents who's seventeen day old child died. Surrounded by various family members, I watched as the young mother handed her baby over to a stranger, who placed it into a small black case, returning the receiving blanket the baby had been in, then turned and walked away into the darkness just before dawn.
They looked at me and struggled to ask God, "Why?"
A day later I met with the children of a colleague of mine as we planned a funeral service after an illness overtook the person's brain, and life. As we shared and talked of all the people this person had touched, the children prayed, "Help us to understand."
And then Thursday I woke up with a terrible respiratory infection and by evening was in the Urgent Care because I was unable to breathe, praying, "This can't be happening now, I have so much to do."
Following Jesus means that our journey is never necessarily our own. While we may discover our vocation, or calling, even that is never truly our own. It is still the act of taking up a cross and following a man who was born to a young girl, who gave birth to this Savior, while in a dark and obscure barn.
Sometimes I have to wonder how this journey that leads to eternal life, filled with unknowns, glorifies God?
While I seemed to have cried at some point during all three of the situations I found myself encountering this week, I seemed to hear a still, small voice reminding me to, "Fear not."
The unexpected encounters while taking up the cross brings us to the reality of a God who remains faithful to us, even when we struggle to understand "Why?" or "How?" something happens, even when we know that we are being held in the hands of God.
Our encounter with the cross makes us better understand the necessity of the birth. Even before the cross, there was a star that others followed. Our journey must always be about seeking the Savior, no matter what we encounter in this life.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.