Pastor Reflections - Nate
Waiting with Patient Hope
Hello church of the redeemed! As you wake up and face another day (or week or month) of quarantine, you may find that much of the adrenaline of the pandemic has drained away and all you are left with is the wish that you could have your life back the way it was before. If that’s you, if there’s a part of you (or even all of you) that’s groaning, then I want to encourage you – not with light fluffy thoughts about raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, or a few of your favorite things, whatever those may be. Let’s be encouraged by things that are more real, more exciting – promises made to you and me from a God who loves us – things that are ours and will never be taken away.
I want to use some lyrics from Andrew Peterson and some bible verses, to guide your heart along a path of reality to the joy that is waiting for you today. Let’s start with the reality of our groaning – you know, as Christians we don’t have to pretend life isn’t hard. It’s okay to groan (which is different than grumbling)! Here are the lyrics in the song “Is He Worthy?”, which ask us questions we know are true.
Do you feel the world is broken? (We do)
Do you feel the shadows deepen? (We do)
Do you wish that you could see it all made new? (We do)
Is all creation groaning? (It is)
Doesn’t that feel true?! The bible states the reality of our broken world in Chapter 8 of the book to the Romans.
Verse 20: “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it”
Verse 22: “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.”
We know this to be true – especially at a time when millions of people around the world are suffering from the physical, financial, or emotional impacts of the coronavirus. But notice I didn’t add “spiritual” to this list. Spiritually we can be healthy and alive and our hope in Jesus (which will not disappoint) can help us to find joy even in the circumstances.
We’ve looked at the sad and painful reality so far. I’ve been holding back all of the joyful and thrilling parts of reality and I can’t hold back any longer! Right alongside every sad lyric above, the song also asks us these questions that we know are also true!
But do you know that all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through? (We do)
Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst? (It is)
Is it good that we remind ourselves of this? (It is)
Does the Father truly love us? (He does)
Does the Spirit move among us? (He does)
And does Jesus, our Messiah, hold forever those He loves (He does)
Does our God intend to dwell again with us? (He does)
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Of all blessing and honor and glory?
Is He Worthy? Is He worthy?
Is He worthy of this?
Right alongside the realities above in Romans 8, the bible also says this of our reality as Christians.
Verses 18-19: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.”
Verses 23-25: “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
So, my brothers and sisters, let your hope in Jesus Christ give you patience as you wait at home! His plan is not foiled, halted, or blocked. Our hurt and brokenness is not new – every human, plant, and animal has been feeling it since the Fall in Genesis 3, when sin entered the world and God cursed it. But God is making all things new! He will make all creation new and wipe away every virus and every tear from every eye. But he started with something more important than even that – he started by wiping away every sin from every person who receives his forgiveness as a gift, and with that, eternal life and his never-ending love.
And so, we can sing these verses from Psalm 34:1-5 together, even when we are afflicted!
I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
Click here to worship to “Is He Worthy?”, performed by Andrew Peterson.