Editor's note: "Unmasking Advent: the arrival of a Savior in our lives" is a sampling of biblical meditations composed by members of the Concordia University Wisconsin community. It is our prayer that you will take time during the Advent season to read and reflect upon God's Word and await the coming of Jesus with newfound anticipation and zeal through the Holy Spirit.
December 5 – What is good about not feeling good?
Isaiah 11:1-12:6 and 2 Peter 2:1-22
Like others, I acknowledge 2020 hasn’t always felt like the best year—or even a contender for my personal “top ten.” In January, I shared a message at Colette’s memorial, my granddaughter whose laughter I will never hear on earth. Throughout spring and summer, my wife and I endured sleepless nights awaiting test results that only confirmed we had not yet diagnosed symptoms being experienced.
COVID-19 has also redefined many aspects of life that have always felt stable, predictable, and within our control. Prior to March, I did not give thought to dinner with friends, dropping my child off at school, or purchasing toilet paper without driving to five stores. If you are like me—typically a positive person—there are days when I am unsure how to respond to “How are you?” without first stopping to catch my breath.
And yet, Christ followers have it good because our Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials (2 Peter 2:9). Even though I may not feelgood, God is good, all of the time. This may be more revolutionary today than ever. Horton’s Christless Christianity (2008) overviewed the moralistic therapeutic deism that American culture worships as it posits comfort over Christ:
- God wants people to be good and nice.
- Life’s central goals are happiness and feeling good about oneself.
- Good people go to heaven when they die.
Praise be to God that the relationship I have with Him through the Holy Spirit is not based on how much “good” I feel or do but rather on salvation brought by God’s grace through Jesus, whose coming we anticipate in this season, even on days we might not characterize as good whatsoever.
Still God’s goodness endures. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation (Isaiah 12:2). That proclamation was penned when Judah cowered in the shadows of a dominant Assyrian empire. There, too, events were occurring on a scale far beyond the scope of believers to grasp and control. Yet omniscient God was—and is—good.
DR. MICHAEL UDEN is the Vice Provost of Student Enrollment and Engagement and has served at Concordia since 1998.
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