I WITNESS the world shaking under the weight of it all. So much worry, so much pain. We try to smile and laugh it away, but we know. There’s so much more going on.
And those in power feel insecure which begets fear which begets violence. Humankind quickly decides then, do whatever you want, good or bad. Old traditions get shredded without considering the cost. Nothing is sacred. No line too far to cross. Every atrocity excused or committed without remorse.
Many get crushed under the steamroller of systems, iron fist rule, and the pursuit of progress. Many are forgotten in the shadow of prosperity for the few.
But the Lord our God is Almighty and Just. He will not remain silent. A judgement day will come. God will not forget them, the little ones, the oppressed, weak, and poor. He will avenge their blood.
We don’t want to talk about a vengeful God. We want a feelgood god who doesn’t really set limits or doesn’t really care. But that is not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That is not the God of Emmanuel. Our God cares deeply, longingly, lovingly.
In the presence of God’s goodness, sin must vanish, obliterated. One day we will all face him. How will our worldly arguments and justifications stand at that time?
In the face of atrocity and deceit, many are driven mad. They want to set the record straight. But in the vast chaos of our confusion the truth gets lost. Only power matters now. So we take up rifles, torches, and pitchforks, and we march. Among brothers and sisters of humankind the flames of division rise high into a hellish inferno. The devil cackles and shivers with delight.
But know this. We are all on trial. We have all lost our way. And the prophets of old cry out from the grave. They cry out, “Repent! Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
What do we stand trial for? What is our sin? It’s the oldest transgression of all, a breach of the First Commandment. Our fidelity is on trial. We have been unfaithful to the Lord. We have forgotten our first love and prostituted ourselves out to false gods.
We do not truly love ourselves. We do not love our neighbor.
We replace the Gospel of Jesus Christ with any other kind of gospel. The gospel of prosperity, nation, recognition, individualism, intellectualism, power, control, greed, capitalism, Marxism, and tyranny. None of these equal the Gospel of Christ. No ideology is God. All are but filthy rags in his presence.
If we continue to worship false gods, the Lord will say to us plainly one day, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”
Still, there is hope. Great abundant hope. In the face of all the madness and despair, the Lord our God stops. All time and space pause for him. He focuses all his attention upon you. Everything else melts away in his presence.
All the bitter, sorrowful history. All the shame and anger. All the could have beens and what ifs disappear. There you are, a child again, standing before your Creator. A tiny fragile dot of flesh standing before that which is greater than the universe.
And you know in your heart where you have made compromises against yourself, loved ones, and those who are weaker than you. You know in your heart when you have been selfish, proud, and unkind.
There is no reason to hide anymore. Everything out in the open. Everything exposed. You feel ashamed and wounded beyond belief.
And in the desolation, the Lord our God offers you something unimaginable. He offers you his greatest treasure, what he cherishes most. His only begotten and beloved Son is offered as a ransom for you.
He offers you innocence.
He says, “Yes, my child, take him. Take my Son. He is yours. In exchange for all your shame and hurt, I give him to you. This is my mercy. This is my healing love. He is sacrificed for you. I urge you to take him. I give him to you freely. Jesus, my Son, is your salvation.”
You are not forced to accept. You can walk away and return to remorse. Or you can fall to your knees and let the tears of joy fall at the feet of Christ.
This is the greatest love of all time. It is an eternal, never ending love to rewrite your history. Love is your story now. A love that transcends all that drives us to lose hope in this troubled, difficult time.
Instead, your life proclaims the Gospel. Your life proclaims the truth, that yes, God is love. And only his love can set us free and set us straight again. You are faithful–faithful to God and to love above all things. This is his grace. And it’s more than enough to get you through each day.
You will not fear tomorrow. Instead, you anticipate it as one more day to live and love with great courage. You live in watchful waiting to encounter Jesus in every person you meet. You yearn for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ, the Lord from whom all good things come.
And when you face God on that Final Day, your soul will dance joyfully with angels upon the clouds in heaven. You will come home again, resurrected.
But for today, for now, you live by grace alone. Despite the struggle, despite the pain, you give and embrace abundant life. You join with others in the Body to cry up and out to God. The Spirit inside you brings forth miracles.
Your eternal life starts here. It begins now. Glory be to God.
. . . . . . .
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.John 15:11-13
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