I peered through the frosty glass doors as I made my way through the maze of people in the frozen food aisle at the grocery store. It was my second trip through looking for 2 small boxes of broccoli to make my mom’s broccoli casserole. They were nowhere to be found. As I remembered the old family recipe, I realized they don’t even package broccoli that way anymore. What should I buy? I wondered. Yet another question I should have asked my mom before that first day of October.
“This is not the way things are supposed to be.”
She is supposed to be here to cook this. I am not supposed to be having Thanksgiving at my house. I am supposed to be going home where she would welcome me with open arms. I gulped back tears. “Now is not the time,” I thought, even though part of me did not care if I threw myself down in the middle of the aisle and sobbed the ache out right there in front of everyone. I choked them back and chose two bags of broccoli instead, certain it would not turn out like hers.
On my way home I heard it again in my head, “This is not the way things are supposed to be.”
“Katie, you cannot think this way.” I chided myself. “That is not true. The Lord is good and he is wise. You just have to trust him.”
Wiping away tears it echoed one more time, “This is not the way things are supposed to be.”
Then I realized it. It was true- things are not supposed to be this way. But things have not been the way they were “supposed to be” since that fateful day that mankind fell in the garden.
Sin entered, death entered, the world lay cursed.
Jesus was not supposed to be born in a stable with only lowly shepherds to greet him.
Jesus was not supposed to have been running for his life with his family at such a young age.
Jesus was not supposed to be misunderstood or mocked or beaten or killed.
Nothing is as it is supposed to be. It wasn’t for him and it won’t be for us.
I was worried that this holiday season would somehow mean less to me as the grief sometimes numbs me to everything else. But I am finding just the opposite. It means so much more to me to know that Jesus “the lamb slain before the foundation of the world” came into this world where nothing is as it should be to turn it right- to make things as they should be. He was born so “that man no more may die.”
Even as I know that my God is good and wise and sovereign, I also know that this world is cursed. Even as I weep over this, I remember Jesus weeping at the grave of his friend Lazarus. As he looked around at the sickness and death and sorrow, he was moved deeply and the most concise verses in scriptures, “Jesus wept,” speaks volumes. Jesus knew this world was not as it should be, that is why he came. And on the night of his betrayal he spoke these words to his disciples, “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
For those of you aching this holiday season, perhaps you are alone as your husband is off fighting a war or you are in the hospital with your child or your loved one has passed on to eternity or sin has taken its toll on your life in some other way, I pray that, while your heart may echo this truth of a cursed world, “This is not supposed to be this way,” you would also recall the one who has overcome this world and its curse.
Find your hope in his sovereign hand but don’t stop there- remember that he has made all things as they should be through Jesus. Even as you weep, know he is near. My love to you all this Thanksgiving.