Monday, September 26, 2011

Enduring Presence

Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.  -- Isaiah 47:11 (KJV)

The sum total of the 47th chapter of Isaiah is a condemnation God decrees against Babylon.  It's a witness certainly against Babylon.  It simultaneously serves as an affirmation to Israel and Judah that Babylon will get it's "just desserts."  We could read it, move on ignoring it as just for them, but it also has a word of truth for us today.  But, I don't think the word for us is straighten up and fly right or calamity will destroy you.  The hardest of truths is that life itself brings calamity, misery, and sorrow everyday to someone.  We like to think that we're living right, doing everything right and have full control of our life plans, "God is richly giving me all I deserve," but then bad things befall. The abundance/reward theology is a sadistic plague in our churches and our society.  We do not get rewarded for being good, or for playing the life game better.  Disasters still strike.  Bad diagnoses still kill.  Car accidents still happen.  Like the rain, they fall on the just and the unjust.  None of these can be prevented by having the right faith, the right morals, or the right anything.  

On the flip side, many have also gotten very good at pointing fingers of blame for weaknesses and failures and for just not trying.  We wear victim-hood like a badge of honor, excusing ourselves from the race that life lays out before us daily because we've had some unexpected obstacle thrown in our path.  Like the paralytic that laid by the pool day after day, quasi-whining to Jesus that he just couldn't get into the stirred up waters in time, victims find their traumas a crutch and will even fight with someone who tells them to put it down and get up and walk again.

The Word of God, outside and all around this 47th chapter is a word of Enduring Presence.  Life is bigger than anything in particular going on with you.  God is bigger than anyone you can imagine, with larger plans and a much larger perspective than any human can imagine.  God's primary focus on you is your eternal life.  That is the Big Race that we take the starting line for every morning.  The promise of Jesus Christ is that with Him racing beside you that you do not have to be afraid of what may happen, nor do you have to limp with your spirit defeated, whining helplessly.  Christ gives you the courage to live another day with any circumstance that you face.  Run with Him in your heart.

Lord Jesus, we lift up to you all the hurting, sick, and tired people.  So many endure so much, yet you are our strength, our constant, our hope.  Connect us to you and help us win today's race.  Amen.

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