Let the sorrowful sighing of the prisoners come before You, and by Your great might spare those who are condemned to die. Psalm 79:11
So when God comes near, He always challenges our fears. This guy went to Mozambique, Africa and few years ago and had the opportunity to go to an orphanage that was near a dumpster. And the nuns first took him into a room filled with men weak, thin and dying of AIDS and then they took him into another room filled with women weak, thin and dying of AIDS and malaria. The most shocking of the rooms was next, filled with cribs wall to wall with little babies whose parents were dying.
The guy looked down and saw the cutest baby in the entire world (except Everette of course) with a round face and curly hair, and he asked the nun if he could pick her up. The nun said, with hesitation, that he could. He still remembers the little baby’s name, Muyena. Muyena wrapped her little legs and little arms around him and buried her head right into his chest, and then peeked up at him. The nun said something to him that he would never forget, “Everyone wants to be held by somebody.”
He thought to himself, “How true this is. The God of the Universe is extending His arms to you and I and saying ‘I want to be in relationship with you; let Me hold you.” But He also has to say something else, the same thing He told Zechariah, He told Joseph, He told the group of shepherds, and He told Mary: “Fear not.” One of the things that keeps us from engaging in a dynamic, intimate relationship with the God of the Universe is our fear. Can we really trust Him?
And each of us is held prisoner by our fear. Well, at least I am. And every morning I leap off of the kitchen counter of myself into the strong waiting arms of my Father, and He catches me. But somehow I wiggle free from His embrace and scrabble up again to my precarious perch of, “Thank you but I would rather be in control.”
And all of the condemnation is self-inflicted. Jesus came not into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him, might be saved. And Chris reminded us last night, as we explored the last advent candle of Peace, that as we wait for His redemption, the thing about Jesus is that He shows up, no matter on how well we wait, whether with impatience, apathy, disbelief. His breaking in does not depend on us.
Peace He gives us. Me. A permanent, lasting peace that lasts through our transitory lives. Jehovah Shalom: I am your peace. And may I too wrap my legs and my arms around Him, and bury my head right into His chest, and peek up at His face.
And this is the blessing I will chose for today, and Lord Willing every day: “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”’
Because it is His will. And His promise.
Thus says the Lord who made the earth the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is His name: Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:2,3