So today God, just wrap your arms into one big hug for all of us down here. So many of us just need a big heaping dose of what You can give at this moment. For all the tossed, torn, tattered, broken, bruised, and battered, ruined and restless, wearied, wrecked, worn and weathered parts of us today. Yeah, for all of our vulnerable states that we find ourselves in, You alone know how we got there, from beginning to end. You alone are the keeper of our lives, our souls our journeys. You know hearts, concerns, motives, the why’s and wherefores, and in all of our confusion You understand everything!
So after the storms what then God? What then? After the ruin, the loss and the destruction of life itself and it’s surroundings? Yeah, what then? When the storm churns, and our hearts fail us and we grieve our losses. Where do we begin to make things new when we don’t even know what’s broken?
So we turn to our Maker, our Creator, our Grace Giver, our Mercy Giver, our Sustainer, our Provider, our Redeemer, our Saviour, our Care Giver our Life Preserver and our Salvation on the sea of turmoil. You alone God, are Our Deliverer in times of distress, fear, and chaos. When everything goes wrong, and under, You throw us the life jacket and say, “Peace be still” to the storm!
Oh yeah, you and I and we and us, let’s say with the Psalmist in Psalm 55:1 “Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles….Vs. 6 -8 “Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness. How quickly would I escape from this wild storm of hatred….ah, but then David chooses to change his focus and trust in His God and in Verse 16, he reminds himself and us when he pens “but I will call on God, and the LORD will rescue me. Morning, noon and night I cry out in my distress and the LORD hears my voice. He ransoms me and keeps me safe from the battle waged against me, though many still oppose me.
David knew all too well the battles of the storms within and without. So ok, God, right now at this moment, give us all a heaping dose of Your sustaining grace laced with mercy for the roads of our lives that we face today. Give us safety on the journeys we find ourselves taking, whatever journey it might be and just like you kept David in his fear, keep us safely tucked in Your care.
So, what’s all the noise and fuss about lighting this candle of hope at Advent season? What’s hope anyway in this bad, sad world of ours? What’s up with hope anyways in the wars, the riots, the killings, the shootings, the earthquakes, and all the ‘not so great things’ that happen daily in our own lives and in our own worlds? Hope? Is it some pie in the sky crutch to help Christ ones over the rough patches or some kind of brainwashing that has believers totally running off the reality track? What is it? Where is it and how on the wide side of the earth do we find hope within a world such as this? A world in such utter disarray and chaos? Is this thing Hope, really for real or just some word tossed about to get us by and give us some kind of false idea that all will be better by and by?
Yeah, it is for real! It resides in the hearts and minds of Christ’s disciples ~ in the hearts and minds of His followers. Hope resides there because His followers have tasted of the healing and forgiveness and faithfulness of the Lord and witnessed His hand of goodness even through the storms, the losses, the trials and the fires. Prophecies foretold of this wondrous hope splashed all through the pages of scripture, of this One who would step down from heaven and enter as the only solution, into a world crushed by sin and torn apart by it’s ruthless destruction. He would enter as a babe, so tender, so helpless, so human yet so divine! He would enter humbly and be laid in a manger as the Light of world! As the Saviour of the world! Yes, let’s light a candle to symbolize this Hope for the world! Prophecy foretold the Good news of His coming to take away the ugly sin-stain of mankind and heal their land, their hearts and their souls. Isaiah’s words to Hezekiah in Isaiah 40: 1-5 were words of comfort for the people of Israel at a very difficult time. It was a message of encouragement with the good news of forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. A message still so real and relevant for us today as we sit in a broken world with broken lives ravaged by sin! And ah, yes, beautiful soul, He did come! He came as a babe to live, and walk among us and die and yet rise to defeat death so that our own hearts can be healed and forgiven and made new because the Light of the World came into the world! He came to seek and to save that which is lost. That’s you and I and because of this great event in history, we don’t have to continue to live in the darkness and the ruins of sin that so easily entangle us and make the world the bad, sad world that it is.
Oh yes, the hope is real and for ‘very’ real for sure!! There is Hope laced throughout the brokenness and the darkness of this dismal world, in the form of a Saviour, the Light of the world.
Isaiah 40: 1 – 5
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD ; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
So When it’s all said and done and there’s just nothing more to say, and there’s no where else to turn and your weary-worn self feels you’ve lost the battle, then take it to our all-knowing God, the Ancient of Days, the ever-present, all-knowing Beginning and the End! He’s the One who knows well your story full circle. Go on and tell Him your side! You have His ear and His heart. Let Him speak peace into yours! He’s all about you and you can know that! He’s your refuge and your strength! He’s your councillor, your protector, your advocate, your intercessor, your moderator, your peacemaker your reconciler and your Savior. He wears all the hats and carries all the authority to make your life come together when it’s turned upside down and inside out. So ~ beautiful soul, go to Him and pour out your troubled, restless, and fearful heart when no one else will listen and find solace in your struggle.
Psalm 46; 1,2,3,9,10
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof….He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire…. Be still, and know that I am God:
The Cross And The Victory!!!
“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:3
Despised, hated, criticized, rejected, judged, condemned, abandoned, tortured, impugned and put to agonizing death on a cross for my sin and for my infirmities. It was my sin that crushed Him. My sickness, my disease, my sorrow that weighed Him down. It was my weakness that He carried and my rebellion that He was pierced for. Greater love hath no man than this, than a man should lay down His life for His friends. John 15:13. What amazing love in His terrible death. What unspeakable joy and victory in His glorious resurrection!!! The cross could not stop Him. Death could not defeat Him and the grave could not hold Him. He reigns supreme as my Redeemer, my Restorer, my Healer and my Savior. Our God is brilliant, and even in our greatest thoughts of Him, He is greater still. His plan of salvation goes beyond any thought I can fathom. His thoughts are too high. I can not attain unto them. He guards, He guides, He leads, He protects. He watches over His creation, His people, His universe and His world in all the splendor of His omnipresence, and in all the power of His omnipotence. He’s not caught off guard, He’s never surprised. He never abandons and He never forsakes. Imagine our victorious Lord, victorious even unto death, as He sits at His Father’s right hand, in His all-powerful presence, interceding for us, for our sin, for our repentance, for our failures and for our forgiveness, for our desires and for our petitions. Is This not powerful? Friends, this is victory!! It’s our fervent prayer born out of humility, in all humbleness of heart and attitude that unleashes the blessing of God’s supernatural power to strengthen us to be lights on the hill, and salt in a desperate, faltering and dying world. Yes, prayer performs His Strength, His Power and His confidence in us and through us, in our life of service, in our world of ministry, in our struggles, our temptations, and our shortcomings. Christ is the doorway to deliverance, repentance and forgiveness and His authority prevails. He is entirely strong and He is my strength, my Rock and my Refuge. He is my provider, my councilor my confidante. I must turn in, relinquish my failures, my fears, my insecurities, my weaknesses and my hang-ups to this all Powerful,
all-knowing one, whose victory is secure. I must catch a glimpse of the cross of Christ, the empty tomb and my resurrected King of Glory and rejoice today in the God of my salvation and in His resurrection power!!!
You Be blessed in the sad and yet joyous celebration of the cross. Rejoice in His power over death, the magnificence of the empty tomb on the third Day, and the ultimate victory of our Risen Lord. May you be embraced and warmed in the Father’s love and blessed with joy unspeakable as you rest in the Lord’s abiding love, grace and favor throughout this Easter season.