A friend of mine used to live on the 12th floor of the One Park Place condominiums near Crown Center. On a clear, bright day I could see 10 miles. I loved all of the views: north of the Missouri River, south to the Country Club Plaza and east out toward the Truman Sports Complex.
Standing in front of those floor-to-ceiling windows, gazing over the city, gave me a great feeling of power and control, as if I could hold the entire city in my own hands.
These are the feelings I often fall into when things are going well in my own life: a feeling of pride and power that I have such a well-ordered family, career and spiritual life.
Then it happens, as it always does in life: Things do not go well, life doesn’t follow my design. The kids get sick, a crisis arises at work, my marriage feels conflict, my spiritual life is empty, and I feel anger, resentment and loss of control.
My power is lost, no matter how hard I try to hold on to it. I find myself crying out in desperation, “Jesus, why aren’t you making this easy for me?”
Jesus never promised that it would be easy. He only promised us the cross and that he would be with us always. The church celebrates the season of Advent, our time of waiting for Jesus to arrive, in the darkness of winter.
What beauty and wisdom! We watch for Christ in the dark. It is in the darkness of my pride that I recognize my need for humility. It is in the darkness of my need to control that I recognize my helplessness. It is in the darkness of my resentment that I recognize my need for mercy. It is in the dark night of doubt that I can see my dependence on Christ alone.
When I am in the darkness of life I call out, “I need you!”
The Prophet Isaiah asks the Lord, “Why do you let us wander from your ways?” I wonder that, too.
Why does God let us suffer; why does he let us drift away? The Rev. Richard Rohr says that our Advent cry in the darkness, “Come Lord Jesus” comes from our desperation, but it becomes our cry of hope.
What a relief it is to know that I am not in control of anything! What a relief it is to know that I can surrender it all to Christ, who came to reconcile and redeem the world and who will come again. We need to watch for him.
This Advent, on the darkest, clearest of nights, go outside and look up at the sky. Gaze into the galaxy. On the clearest, brightest day you can see 10 miles, but in the darkness of night, you can see 100 million miles.
Watch for Christ in the dark of night; watch for Christ in the darkness of your life. Watch!
Sonya Salazar is a Faith Walk writer for The Star. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.