But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Luke 24:21
We were hoping…. These two disciples woke up on Sunday morning and seemingly, nothing had changed. That had hoped “Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people” would redeem the nation of Israel from the evil clutches of Rome. Instead, “The chief priests and our rulers delivered Him (Jesus) to the sentence of death and crucified Him.”
What does redemption look like? In this circumstance, the disciples were hoping that Jesus would usher in Hs glorious kingdom freeing them from the tyranny of Rome; however, Jesus accomplished something even more remarkable. Jesus rendered Satan powerless and overcame the tyranny of sin and death. By His precious blood, Jesus redeemed us from our futile way of life. The Son set us free!
In Matthew 27, we read about the crowd was mocking Jesus as he was hanging on a cross saying, “He saved others, but He can’t save himself. Let him come down from the cross and we will believe in him. He trusts in God, so let God rescue him.” To some it appears God did not answer the cries of his beloved Son, yet at that very moment of seeming defeat, the Lord was orchestrating the most awesome rescue of all. OURS! For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption and forgiveness of sins.
So what does resurrection look like? Look in the mirror and see a miracle, Christ in you, the hope of glory! Maybe like those two disciples, your current circumstances seem dismal and you wish God would swoop in to rescue you, but instead the Father has sent His Spirit to give you His strength and power. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God! For whoever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. 1 John 5:4-5
I have discovered that all the miseries of men derive from one single fact: they cannot sit quietly in their own room.” Blaise Pascal
I speculate that those who are coping best with the realities of social isolation in midst of an unknown future are those who had previously learned to sit quietly before the Lord. I have several friends who are thriving under the imposed conditions while others are filled with anxiety.
We all experience times when storms come and our world is shaken. However; learning to meditate on truth and spend time in solitude with the Lord provides a foundation and an anchor which many are now scrambling to gain. Perhaps you are familiar with the analogy from nature. A tree puts down its roots and is strengthened long before it shows evidence of growth. Those who have practiced waiting on the Lord over the years, do not find these circumstances as trying, merely another opportunity to submit to the Lord’s timing and ways.
While we frequently quote Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know I am God,” do we act upon this? I wonder if the Lord has provided us with an opportunity to examine our busyness and make adjustments. In Isaiah 30:15, the Lord offers the people an invitation, “In repentance and rest you will be saved. In quietness and trust is your strength. But you were unwilling,”
When confronted with changes or the unknown, we have been conditioned to believe we must take some action and do something. Could it be worse to do something God has not told us to do rather than to do nothing at all? While waiting on the Lord and being still may appear to be doing “nothing,” in reality, we are being imparted with the Lord’s strength and gaining understanding. Are our over-scheduled lives really virtuous? Is what we have labeled efficient and productive depriving us of the rest God invited us to enter?
Currently we are restricted to engaging in only “essential” activities. As I wait, I am asking the Lord which activities in my life does He deem essential. When our governor lifts the restrictions, will we head back full speed into all those things we were doing? Have we realigned our hearts so that our roots continue grow deeply into God’s love preparing us for the next storm that will eventually come? May we be like the man in Psalm 1 who is like the tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and its leaf does not wither. In whatever he does, he prospers. Our essential activities will then become about the Lord’s fruitfulness in us, not our productivity for Him.
Many of us are muddling through these days feeling helpless, hopeless or as if life is out of control. As we view our current circumstances, do we believe “God is nowhere” or are we able to perceive “God is now here”? What we feel depends on perspective. When I think God is distant, I lose hope. When I forget God is sovereign, things seem out of control.
Where is your hope? If I could sit with you, I would want you remind you that God is now here in this very moment. Sometimes our vision becomes cloudy, as if we have spiritual cataracts, and we require surgery from our Great Physician. Unfortunately, this process of gaining spiritual sight is not as quick and uncomplicated as having a cataract removed from our physical eyes. The process may take an entire lifetime… until we see Jesus fact to face. If 20/20 spiritual vision is seeing people and circumstances with God’s perspective, we have a long way to go; however, as our vision becomes unclouded, our hope grows.
It may be hard to hold onto hope, but you can always hold on to Jesus. Even better, He is holding fast to you and nothing can snatch you from His hand.
May the God of HOPE fill you with all HOPE as you trust in Him Romans 15:13
I came across a fascinating article about Yellowstone National Park. In 1995, forty-one wolves were re-introduced into the environment. Within a few years, many changes occurred. More beavers populated the streams and rivers. The waters were clearer. Flowers that had not been seen in many years appeared. A small number influenced a whole population.
I find encouragement in considering this. Just a few of us can change the world. Unfortunately, this this is frequently evidenced as darkness, evil, and disease multiply in this world. But we are the light! Our pinpricks of light can and will influence the darkness. Our acts of love, kindness, faithfulness, and truth cascade into areas we cannot imagine.
In social work, it is called the systems theory. If one element of the system changes, the whole system is impacted. I encourage you to be a world changer! The Lord God told Joshua, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified because I, the Lord am with you!” Displaying courage and strength in the Lord during challenging times becomes similar to the 41 wolves. A small number of faithful believers, fully trusting in the Lord changes everything.