Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thankful for a message about waiting

Advent is about waiting.

The pastor said that bound up in the meaning of advent are both the "already" and the "not yet."

Faith is being convinced about the "already," so we can hope securely for the "not yet."

I have a big "not yet" in my life.  Some days it seems almost as though it's going to kill me, bearing down in darkness and despair.

But God.

Those are some of my favorite words:  But God.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins . . . 
But God, being rich in mercy, 
because of His great love with which He loved us, 
even when we were dead in our transgressions, 
made us alive together with Christ
(by grace you have been saved).
Ephesians 2:1, 4-5

God became flesh and dwelt among us so that we could behold the glory of the Father, and especially so He could fulfill the Law of Righteousness and then die in our place, the sinless one in the place of sinners, the Redeemer.

He spilled His perfect, priceless blood to pay our sin debt, to purchase men for God.  The payment has already been made.  Whoever will come is eagerly invited to come, to be forgiven, cleansed, healed and delivered from darkness.

Sometimes you may have thought that someone was already covered under the blood, redeemed and counted as one of God's children.  And then that person falls away both in lifestyle and in the declaration, "There is no God who cares anything about me."

You remember a different time, a different reality, a different declaration.  That is the "already."  In the midst of billowing blindness and rebellion, you claw away at the clouds that only Jesus Himself can break through, because you know His mark must be there, and His truth.  He was the Creator in the very beginning, and He will be the Judge at the bridge to the next life.  Despite all other confusion, these two facts seem to remain in the consciousness of the rebel.


But God.

And so you wait, and pray.  Advent.  Waiting for the light of hope to dawn in a sick and stricken heart.  Waiting for the living waters of the Spirit to begin to flow again, and bring flourishing life to a barren environment.  Waiting.  Hoping.  Expecting.

Waiting is hard.  Waiting requires patience, and patience requires trust.

With God, all things are possible.

Often, nothing seems to be happening, not in your limited, human perspective.  When nothing seems to be happening, when a treasured soul is on a trajectory towards destruction, fear can well up like a plague in the belly.

When I am afraid, I will trust in You.
Psalm 56:3

I never used to understand that verse, but now I think I do.

Patiently waiting.

Trusting that because God is God, everything will be all right as His perfect will comes to pass.

Thy will be done.

I never noticed before that the passage in Isaiah 40 is about those who wait for the Lord.  It's a promise to the hopeful waiting ones, the trusting ones.

Yet those who wait for the Lord
will gain new strength;
they will mount up with wings like eagles,
they will run and not get tired,
they will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40:31

Waiting and hoping, these are good disciplines, and they strengthen us.

I am thankful for this source of strength, thankful to be reminded that I have this hope, thankful that my God is always faithful to His promises.

Thankful for a message about waiting.

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