Have you ever noticed that the holidays bring out the worst in our worrying? Several years ago I went through a dark period of illness and distress. As soon as one difficulty passed, another took its place. By the beginning of Advent I had fallen into a fretful habit of “What if-ing.” “What if the new medication doesn’t work?” “What if I have to cancel that work project?” “What if I still feel like this on Christmas—how will I get the dinner done, the house cleaned? . . .”
“Look,” my husband said one day, “I know it’s hard to have hope sometimes. But living in the future steals today. Can’t you decide not to start sentences with ‘What if’?”
As an Advent offering, maybe I could.
“The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to those who are searching for his love” (Lamentations 3:25). As days passed and I practiced tossing What-if’s out of my head whenever they intruded, I was surprised at how often I wasted perfectly good hours by worrying about something that hadn’t happened yet—and might never. I realized that when my own store of hope was used up, there always seemed to be someone around (maybe an earth angel?) who could show me the rainbow hidden from my view. Although I endured miserable moments and it took discipline not to return to the old pattern, eventually I stopped focusing on the fearful future and decided to enjoy just this one hour. (The right medication helped, too.)
Today I look back upon that period with astonishment, for not one of my worries ever came to pass. A waste of energy, yes, but also a lesson. As St. Paul reminds us, “Hoping for what we cannot see means awaiting it with patient endurance” (Romans 8:25). Each Advent, as I wait for the Child who brought us the hope that never fades, I give thanks.
Books by Joan Wester Anderson
An Angel to Watch Over Me
True Stories of Children’s Encounters with Angels
A collection of more than 30 stories of children’s experiences with celestial beings--from a boy whose angel helps him conquer his fear of thunderstorms to a girl who is miraculously rescued from her burning house.
Angels, Miracles, and Heaven on Earth
The Best of Joan Wester Anderon’s True Stories of Divine Help
A collection of stories from Joan Wester Anderson featuring the most popular and beloved stories from her previous books
True Stories of Heavenly Canine Companions
Angelic Tails is a collection of true stories that encourage readers to reconsider their view of how God works in and through our world.
Where Miracles Happen
True Stories of Heavenly Encounters
Where Miracles Happen is collection of 45 miraculous stories, from angelic encounters to physical healing to divine guidance. These true tales of heavenly help are guaranteed to inspire.
Angels and Wonders
True Stories of Heaven on Earth
Angels and Wonders recounts nearly 40 stories about angels. The stories in this book reveal that angels accompany humans on their daily journeys and influence their lives.
True Stories of Answered Prayers
Inspiring stories of answered prayer that deepen faith and remind us that we are never alone.
The Power of Miracles
True Stories of God’s Presence
Best-selling author Joan Wester Anderson offers stories of mysterious rescues, celestial visions, and many other signs and wonders.
In the Arms of Angels
True Stories of Heavenly Guardians
New York Times best-selling author Joan Wester Anderson offers us her latest collection of true-life accounts of guardian angels and heavenly intervention.