December 3rd, 2020 by Carl Buffington
As you look at what lies ahead:
Into what are you anchoring faith?
And where are you casting hope?
A new liturgical year is launched. What does it hold? What lies ahead? A quarreling country? A miracle vaccine? A new mission, new ministry, new worship, and new you? Why not? The King is coming.
Barbara and I are looking to the coming healer, the promised Messiah and praying that He will touch a precious child of His Abba. She’s just 10. She and her family have been battling a miserable post- COVID condition for 7 plus months. Too many doctors, tests, medicines, sleepless nights, and eating too little days, have left them almost on empty but still hope filled. It’s a season of waiting both by the church calendar and experientially.
When Henri Nouwen wrote about the spirituality of waiting he said the secret was planting the seed of faith. We wait in expectant hope, trusting. And I think of a blog by Ann Voskamp who asked, “What happens when we pray and the miracle doesn’t happen?” And she had some pretty weighty miracle requests on her heart. She says we may not get the miracle but she insists that we always get God. God with us, Immanuel.
Matthew begins with Immanuel, God with us. And ends with, “I am with you always.” Our expectant waiting hinges on His real presence - at the beginning and the end. What lies ahead? His presence in the “GO” of mission.
Mark skips the beginning Christmas story and goes right to Jesus’ baptism and then to His ministry. He ends with ministry in awesome power by disciples with His presence. So trusting our Lord, we pray, “Jesus, please heal this your child! Amen.” Ministry in His name and power lies ahead for those who trust in the Lord.
Luke begins in a place of worship. And someone named Simeon comes along and prophecies over Mary’s baby boy. At the close of the gospel it says they were all in the temple again, praising God. What lies ahead? Where we began, worshipping in God’s house. Waiting on His word and leaning on our hope.
John begins with, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And he ends with, there are just too many words to record them all. We are words with a small ‘w’ going forth in mission and to become like the One who made us in His image with the capital ‘W’. What lies ahead? Transformation.
This story, like all that include Jesus, has a beginning and a future. This 10 year old belongs to ABBA, ultimately and finally. He knit her together in her mother’s womb. And because He bought her with His blood bled and love shed on the cross, He will not, not ever, leave her. That’s His promise. He is with her always to the end, Immanuel is now and is what lies ahead.
For now, it’s the season of waiting, and so we await Immanuel/Messiah/Healer, He will come! We trust and put our hope in that. We trust and put our hope in Him. He loves her even more than all of us do. We know the end because he has told us and lived, and lives, for us the greatest story ever told.
Come Lord Jesus and heal your child! Amen!