I thought I'd finished my post on the last verse of the hymn earlier today, but reason won out and I deleted it. You might have been one of the few who got to read a bit of that blather in the ten minutes it was up and I'm sorry if you did.
A friend asked me last week if I had any regrets and I answered truthfully when I said I did not.
The truth is that so much of life is lived wrought with difficulty, but regret is a backward motion and living can only be done forward. Every experience in my life has led me toward a deeper truth of God character and more transparency in my own. If we try to play chess with life, there is an almost certainty we will be the checkmated.
I believe that God is sovereign and also that He is good, and that He is so good that He has ordained a path for us that brings us the most joy and Him the most glory. I would stake my life on that belief. I would die on that belief. And not because I have any illusions that the most joy to be had will be had on earth. I'm confident that my most blissful earthly moment will not be a fraction of the joy I'll experience on the threshold of eternity.
So sometimes the paths during life feel miserable. The paths of the past few weeks have felt crushing. I am feeling that familiar December angst pushing me in, and my soul is asking questions that are probably better left unasked. I feel unsafe--there is nowhere to go where there is complete trust, complete faith, complete love.
And then I come home, put on my smart wool socks and sweat pants, take out my contacts, curl up with a good book. In a few hours Season comes in with chili and cornbread and we sit side by side on my down comforter and eat chili out of holiday mugs. Another hour later she brings in spiced apple cider and we talk. She leaves and soon Jenna comes in, sprawls across my bed, and tells me how the gospel was made real to her today. I put five versions of O Come, O Come Emmanuel on my playlist and begin to write the final verse of the hymn. This, what you're reading now.
The truth is that life is lived forward and there are moments of misery, hopelessness, but there are glimpses of heaven, hope, and unconditional love. He is making safe the way to heaven. He closes the paths on misery. But it is all done forwardly, intentionally, and in certainty of the end of the story.
Oh, come, O Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!