Noah makes more sense than Jesus


I am rich!  No, I did not win the $550 Million in the PowerBall Lottery. My wealth is found in God’s love story. As I prepare to celebrate Advent I am invited to swim in an ocean of grace, to revel in love beyond measure. Have you ever found yourself impatient with someone after just a few failures? Me, too!  “What’s the matter with him?” we hiss. “I’m so done with her!” we declare emphatically. I am reluctant to admit it. The story of Noah makes a lot more sense to my natural mind than the story of Jesus! I easily identity with God’s anger and His solution! “God saw that human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil—evil, evil, evil from morning to night. God was sorry that he had made the human race in the first place; it broke his heart. God said, “I’ll get rid of my ruined creation, make a clean sweep: people, animals, snakes and bugs, birds—the works. I’m sorry I made them.” (Genesis 6:5-7, The Message) Harsh, isn’t it? Just destroy it all and start over!

Is that the model for me?
Is God ready to wipe me out?
Should I, in self-righteous indignation, write people out of my life?

Not if I understand the Gospel. Advent renews the story of the revelation of a New Covenant. God, acting from an amazing grace and a love that defies my understanding, steps intothe darkness, not away from it.  He intervenes, not to destroy, but to restore. The Bible says – “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:6-8, NLT)
 
Our brokenness becomes the place for the display of God’s beauty! Our sinfulness provides the canvas on which He paints His picture of forgiveness.  The darkness makes His Light shine brilliantly. And, the paradox of grace is that God’s love, not our best efforts, changes us from sinner to saint –  It isn’t something you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about.” (Ephesians 2:9, CEV)

Advent brings a new sense of hope – for myself, for the world that I live in. It is not a hope that springs from some personal victory. This hope comes from the promise of Jesus Christ to love me (and thus to help me love others!) in spite of my sin. The grace of my Lord invites me to sing the Watt’s lyrics in joyful celebration -“Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let earth receive her King! He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found!”
Oh, may His grace make me more ‘grace-full.’ Instead of seeking to dismiss or destroy those who sin – against God or even against me with some small offense – I pray that I will be full of love that looks for a way to restore.

Are you in despair this morning?
Are you discouraged – by your own sins, by the failures of a friend or family member, by the darkness of the world?

Get down on your knees in humility and look up to the Cross where the broken Savior built a bridge that connects sinful people, deserving of destruction, with their Creator Father. Take renewed hope and rejoice in the amazing grace that can transform the most desperate sin or situation into a thing of beauty. Here’s the word from the Word for today: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, …But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ …  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. … He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.” (Ephesians 2:1, 4-5, 10, 17, NIV)

____________________________

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods,
rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love
. – Isaac Watts

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