Advent 21: Psalms 40,41 & James 5.7-11

From Andy Huss

"Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord." (Jas 5:7)

We are witness to tremendous suffering and evil in this world.  It leaves us angry and frustrated.  Our enemy takes advantage of this anger to stoke the fires of hostility between neighbors and between each of us and God our saviour.  The devil uses our frustration to convince us that God isn't doing enough and that we should take matters into our own hands.  The result of our own efforts is often either temptation to pride or a feeling of helplessness.  Personally, I find that my motivation is often sapped by a feeling that any good I'm able to do will be quickly washed away by a world committed to destroying itself.

In this advent season we wait, not with exasperation, but humbly submitting ourselves to a Lord who is sovereign over all things.  "At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death" (Heb 2:8-9).  But how can we see him?  How can we be confident that holy patience will be rewarded?

"I waited patiently for the Lord,
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure." (Ps 40:1-2)

King David has seen his own patience bear fruit.  He makes a habit of reminding himself, and us, that God's past faithfulness is but a foreshadowing of His future faithfulness.

Easy for David to say, who saw God defeat Israel's enemies, but what about us?  We have seen even more.  We are witnesses that God has defeated death itself at the cross.  We experience this victory anew every time we allow God to crush a sin that has enslaved us.  Each battle lost is only a temporary setback.  Each battle won is a reminder of the imminent return of the King and the end of the war.  And these battles are not fought individually, but as a Church.

"I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation." (Ps 40:10)

The mere act of gathering with other believers to worship and break bread is a great encouragement for me, as I hope it is for you.  It reminds me that God is still working in countless ways that I can't see, and in hearts I've never met.  I can be patient because I'm a participant in God's plan, which is far better than anything I could devise.

We are His body, so let us encourage each other, as David does, with reminders of all that God has done and all that he has promised to do for us.  No matter how bleak or painful the present circumstances, the victory is ours.  Because we are confident of our inheritance in Christ and the Kingdom to come, We are free to wait and work patiently until we see Jesus face to face.

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live."  (Joh 14:18-19)

 

I'm an engineer living in Somerville, attending CotC since this summer.  I enjoy hiking and sleeping.  I find that this "reflection" idea isn't all that bad and resolve to repeat the exercise.