Sunday, December 18, 2011

Waiting in Darkness

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Isaiah 60:1-3

You don't have to look too hard to find darkness.  A fellow blogger who wrote about her family following Jesus to love the least of these by adopting a child with HIV lost her army husband in a helicopter crash this past week.  A family, a couple towns over, lost their twin sons and a daughter in a car accident.  The week before, a high school lost 5 teenagers in a different car crash.  A friend struggles with paying the bills or buying her children Christmas gifts.  One of my friend's relationship struggles with the destructive forces of drug addiction.  A dear friend miscarries yet another baby.
 
Frankly, I don't want this world to be the way it is, all that there is, all that there is supposed to be.  I don't want it to be normal for mommas to have empty arms or children to believe hunger pain is a part of life or greed to be the status quo.  I believe this wrongness is one of the strongest arguments for the rightness of God's way.  And I want to believe that Jesus is going to set things right, that he will come back as he said.
 
Sometimes, well, sometimes it feels foolish.  While the world scoots by on its business as usual, I am left in the darkness waiting on my God who is silent.  The world doesn't even seem to perceive its blindness, but instead tries to trick me into believing that I am the one who is blind, or at least dumb.  Everything is a-ok, the world calls to me.  But I hear cries from others, I feel my stomach flip and I know: this is not ok, not remotely ok.
 
Did you know that there are like 400 years between the last words of the Old Testament and the first of the New?  My country isn't even that old.  Neither is my denomination.  I have no genealogy going back that far.  There is no way for me to feel that length of time.  But I bet it feels like forever.
 
One evening my husband and I were to go to a meeting together.  I got home first and took care of the dogs, changed clothes and waited.  And I waited.  The time that he usually came home had passed so I called his cell phone.  No answer.  I got on Facebook to amuse myself and when I thought that a sufficient amount of time had passed, I called again.  No answer.  I texted.  No response.  Was he mad at me for something?  I know I sometimes forget to pack clean underwear for him when we go camping and I am not the most consistent person or the Suzy Homemaker he deserves.  I ignored those accusations by turning on the TV with my phone in hand.  I called every 15 minutes.  I considered calling the emergency room.  Maybe he was unable to respond to his phone because he was in a coma.  As I was debating which hospital to call first, the phone rang.  My husband was upset, wondering why I didn't join him at the meeting.
 
While it was just one evening, it felt long enough.  These things are some of the very same things I go through with God when he feels distant-pretending that I can make my own way without him, amusing myself with the world's diversions, worrying that I am not good enough or lovable enough, and of course, praying and reading and learning to be a "good" Christian.

All those exercises toward being a good Christian, a faithful one that is not visibly affected by the hits sin takes on the lives around us, who demonstrates pious patience....well, sometimes they are just not enough.  Sometimes my soul aches for my Lord to ride in, save the day, and set things right.  Or even to hear him whisper to hold steady, that he is almost there.  Isn't it easier to hold on just a couple moments longer when you know that help is just down the hall?  When you can finally hear that reassuring voice?

We remember Jesus' birth at this time of year.  We read the prophets speak about this king who will be born to save them.  This Advent I have thinking about the next Advent, the next time a king arrives.  While the birth we celebrate went relatively unnoticed, there is nothing that will be left unnoticed in the next Advent.  While he was born as an innocent baby that first Advent, the next Advent...well...he ain't gonna be someone you want to mess with:

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:11-16

I mean, really, you man enough to take him on???

But we wait in darkness for now.  We wait in a swamp of sin and death and pain.  We love those we can.  We mend brokeness, heal wounds, forgive hurts, but we cannot set things right.  Not without him. While it is sometimes long and quiet and cold, the night can only last for so long.  Morning will come.  The dawn will break.  A new day...a new world...a new King.  Come soon, Lord!

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.
Revelation 22:20-21


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