2:30 am – “But, God…”

At 2:30 this morning an aching knee awakened me, a reminder that my body is getting closer to its expiration date! In the darkness I began to think of the various crises of my lifetime. I remembered Mrs. Kirk’s 4th grade classroom and the absurd Cold War era practice of leading children to shelter along the hallway walls, our knees drawn up to our chests, as if we were going to survive a nuclear attack. My brush with the Vietnam War returned to memory, registering for the draft in 1973, pondering my convictions about becoming a combatant; all moot when the war ended before I was called up. I thought about the birth of our first child, a difficult one, and the fear in the delivery room as he finally emerged, blue and lifeless. Oh the elation after what seemed a long time when he finally drew a breath and turned healthy color.  

And, so it went for several minutes … memories times of economic stress, church conflicts, surgery, deaths of loved ones,  9/11, and now COVID.

Struggle is the common human experience! The Bible explains this as the result of evil’s entry into Creation. Paul’s words are gripping – “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Romans 8:20-22, NIV)  

We do what we can to manage the risk, to push the threats to the edge of life, but all – rich and poor, white and black, male and female – sooner or later come to know that life is fragile and beyond our control. Even more importantly, at the core of our being, especially as the years pass, we desire to know a life beyond accumulating wealth, enjoying momentary pleasure. Yes, we join with all Creation in longing for liberation from decay.  

In the middle of that waking dream, one of the most hopeful texts in the Scripture recurrently came to mind. It starts like this: “But God…”  What a divine conjunction. When I was lost, when life had no meaning, at moments that the future was hidden by darkness there is GOD, showing Himself to me.

Here is the full text, one that I love. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s special favor that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms—all because we are one with Christ Jesus. And so God can always point to us as examples of the incredible wealth of his favor and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us through Christ Jesus. God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:4-10, NLT)

Have you, by faith, received God’s mercy, the gift of His salvation?  In that moment, we move from death to life, stepping into the bright hope of eternal life, gaining a home in Heaven. God makes us His very own, inviting us to join Him in making this world new through faith even as we make our journey to our eternal home. All of those crises we experience become moments for faith, opportunities for us to let His love and life shine through us. 

We trust that we are not just random bits of life temporarily drifting through the universe, but that we are purposeful beings, held in the hand of our Creator. We discover this confidence – That neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,  neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:38)

Have you experienced the divine intervention?  “But God …”

Here is a word from the Word. “In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God.” (John 1:1, NLT) “But although the world was made through him, the world didn’t recognize him when he came.” (John 1:10, NLT)  “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12, NLT)   Oh, the glorious freedom of the children of God.


Living Hope

How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb
In desperation I turned to heaven
And spoke Your name into the night

Then through the darkness Your loving-kindness

Tore through the shadows of my soul
The work is finished the end is written
Jesus Christ my living hope

Who could imagine so great a mercy
What heart could fathom such boundless grace
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame

The cross has spoken I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior I’m Yours forever
Jesus Christ my living hope

Hallelujah praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ my living hope

Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Jesus Yours is the victory
Jesus Christ my living hope
Oh God You are my living hope

Brian Johnson | Phil Wickham © 2017 Phil Wickham Music (Fair Trade Music Publishing

[c/o Essential Music Publishing LLC])

Sing My Songs (Fair Trade Music Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

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