Happy Advent Dear Saints,
I hope and pray that you have been having a wonderful week. This week I have been preparing for our next Advent sermon with which we will light the candle of "Joy." I have to say it's been a strange Sunday morning to prepare for. For one thing, as a pastor, I know Christmas conjures up many mixed emotions. While it is a time of joy, it can also be a time of loneliness, heartbreak, and bitterness. For another, if you read our passage for Sunday, Isaiah 8, you can see that Isaiah must have felt bittersweet when receiving the Immanuel prophecy. We can see in this passage that great suffering is in store for the people of God. It is in the midst of this that we have a truly remarkable verse,
"I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him." (Is 8:17)
Isn't that so different than the way our world approaches suffering? Sometimes, our culture tends to obsess on suffering, to sit in pow-wows and to reminisce about misfortune, to revel in darkness. But sometimes, it papers over pain. It squeezes out a smile over the brokenness, it puts a mask over lament, it pretends that all is well.
Yet, the Bible gives Christians a different way. On the one hand, we are able to acknowledge our pain, our deep pain and suffering, our loneliness and heart break. Isaiah acknowledges God's discipline of his wayward people. Yet, on the other, we are given a "peace that surpasses all understanding" (Phil 4:7), "though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day" (2 Cor 4:16). In other words we have in the midst of despair, hope. In the midst of darkness, light. In the midst of sorrow, joy. This is Isaiah's only hope.
As Job defiantly says, "Though he slay me, I will hope in him" (Job 3:15)
So Christian, though slain, stand strong in him.
As always, we will continue to meet tonight to study God's Word, our hope and refuge, and we would LOVE to have YOU! We meet at 6 PM at the church. All are welcome!
Southern Heights Christian Church
Come here for thoughts on how to follow Jesus in our every day life!