Love Came Down: God Never Fails
As we draw near to Christmas, that beautiful lights-in-the-darkness cosy-jumper season, we are gifted with a precious time of waiting, listening and remembering. Remembering the moment we're looking forward to celebrating; listening out for the coming of Christ; waiting to see the ultimate Light shine forth, the Word spoken into a hungry and hurting world.
To parody the famous advert, I have found that this kind of waiting or longing is not just for Christmas.
It can be the middle of June when we find ourselves waiting for the coming of Christ, longing to see and understand a little bit more of God. In the past, my faith has been sometimes characterised by this longing or hunger, this deep feeling of wanting to know God but not always quite grasping how.
Walking by faith rather than by sight is not an easy thing. When Jesus calls us to 'believe' he asks for our every effort and strength - he knows that faith in our great, unseen God goes against all of our instincts. Yet he says 'blessed is the one who has not seen but that yet believed'.
To take hold of this blessing, we must believe even when we can't see. When such faith has been difficult for me, the promises of God are all that have kept me going. They are like Christmas lights shining brightly in darkness - each one illuminates the stretch of path before the next one, not revealing everything but revealing just enough for me to believe for the next few steps of the journey.
In Luke's account of the Christmas story, there is one such bright-shining promise that stands out to me. Elizabeth speaks hope and life to a young, pregnant and probably terrified Mary: 'no word from God will ever fail.'
No word from God will ever fail when you're longing to walk by faith even in dark times. His words will illuminate your path, strengthening and encouraging you to boldly go wherever darkness needs to be overcome.
No word from God will ever fail when you feel inadequate or unworthy. When you feel like you're not clever, holy or good enough, God will whisper transforming words right into your listening heart. You are precious and beautiful; he rejoices and sings over you with love.
No word from God will ever fail when you're full of joy, on top of the world and feeling like you could fly. He'll dance with you as you look up to him with thankfulness - the life he gives is abundant, overflowing, and deeply joyful.
No word from God will ever fail. And they will never fail because they never have. They have stood firm through the ages as people - dreamers, Kings, shepherds, wise men, teenagers - have believed and searched for them, searched to see the true Word of God.
And we know this search will be fruitful - those who seek and believe will find the true Word of God. This is because Jesus was born, as we remember at Christmas. He grew up and he took the road to the cross; later he rose to glorious life, and it is in that victorious moment we see: no word from God will ever fail.