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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

God's Transition

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.   ---Isaiah 61:1-3  (NASB)

This is the passage Jesus read in the synagogue is his hometown at the outset of his ministry as described in Luke 4.  EXCEPT---he didn’t read it all.  Jesus stopped after the phrase “favorable year of the LORD.”  

Have you ever noticed that?  

Have you ever asked WHY he stopped there?

There is a theme that runs in the scriptures that I describe as the “now and the not yet.”  Jesus quoted the part of the scripture that was being fulfilled in his life:  the anointing of the Spirit of God, the healings and the proclamation of the gospel.  He stopped short of the day of God’s vengeance and the comforting of those who mourn, because those were things that were yet in the future.  

This same idea happens when considering the kingdom of God, which is among us, and yet which also has yet to be established in fullness.  It applies to our character as Christians, which 1 John 3 describes by stating that we are already God’s children, but that it has yet to appear what it is we truly are.  There is a lot of “now and not yet” in the Bible.  We live in the period of promise….some promises fulfilled, some promises yet to come to fruition.

It seems to me a lot of things are like that in life.  As I have mentioned before, we are in that kind of transition ourselves, where part of our life is in the town we have been moving from, and part of it is in the town where our future is to which we are moving.  Part here, part there; part fulfilled, part yet to be accomplished; part looking back and letting go, part looking forward and reaching ahead.

There are lots of times in life that are like that, and divorce is certainly one of those, especially during the period between the filing and the court proceedings that completes the process.  A friend of mine called it a time of “limbo,” during which you aren’t quite disentangled from how your life was, but constrained until the court proceedings to be able to begin how your life is going to be.  You can plan, you can dream, you can mourn, and most of all, you can wait.  But that time in between can be a frustrating time in many ways.  That same sense of waiting can also be frustrating for those of us awaiting the return of Christ while observing all the evils in the world around us.  

I just want to share a simple thought with you today.  Living in the period described as “now and not yet” is simply part of how the life God designed for us works.  God is with us in that time.  He offer us reassurances that the frustrations of the “now” are temporary, because the “not yet” is on the way.  Don’t let living in limbo get the better of you…hang on, because the “not yet” is coming…and it is far better than most of us can imagine while wrestling with the frustrations of the “now.”

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