Last year my son died. It’s impossible to forget; in fact I don’t even want to. Today, he would have been alive for ten days last year; knee deep in surgeries with a host of prayer warriors across the world petitioning for a little giant who captivated us. Today, I am in my office with only memories of that cataclysmic time. Each day that passes I don’t exactly dwell on him, but I would be lying if I said I don’t at least stop and remember the smells and sights of the ECMO machine, the CDH issues, and the neo natal intensive care unit. I look at my wife often throughout the day and I see her carrying our next child, due late February or early March, noticing too the toll life has thrown at us. This time of the year brings back so much.
Each liver transplant I have had, all three, were in the throws of December. One transplant was done on the 23rd of December, another on the 28th, and still one more in January over the course of ten years. The one in January, however, was probably the most difficult as Kelly was pregnant with my first son, Noah, while her husband was in a walking coma for much of December and January. And last year, my son died on December 24th. From one perspective, December has not been kind.
But from another perspective, one in which I see but do not see, one in which is given through the eyes of faith in Jesus Christ, proves to show me that our God is faithful. I have only to look at Abraham, through the writings of Paul, in Romans 4, to see that my God has been faithful to His children throughout the ages. Romans 4.16, 19-21 “That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent to the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all…He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”
Faith is a divine gift from our Divine Father. Abraham was given faith, and the faith that he was given was counted to him as righteousness through Jesus Christ alone as he looked forward to the promised Seed. He believed for Christ’s righteousness and rightness, and this I do as well. It is the reality of the gospel, the quintessential manifestation of the faithfulness of God displayed through love. But what strikes me to the heart right now is the statement in verses 20-21, “no distrust made him waiver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”
It is no secret that a host of us have been through difficult and trying times. But as we see with eyes of faith and experience the goodness of God despite the sin in our lives, are we too fully convinced that God will do what He has promised? And do we even know what that great promise is? It is nothing short of full redemption from the struggles of our lives, full reconciliation to the Father through Jesus Christ, and an eternity of fullness in perfection for the rest of our existence.
This is the goodness of the Christmas season that we must continue to look upon. Jesus Christ, in the flesh, fulfilling all righteousness where we have failed. Despite the difficulties in our lives, despite the horrible trials of December that it has brought to many of us, we must see not the trials, but the faithfulness of December. The perfect life, the sacrificial death, the glorious resurrection of Christ, and the gift of faith given to us by the Father elicits in our lives a righteousness not our own. Romans 4.24-25, “It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”
Our God is faithful, even when we are not. Regardless, we can rest assured in the work of Christ, and proclaim from the rooftops even when tragedy strikes, that our God is faithful, even in December.