Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"Strangely Garbed"

With God, we must always expect the unexpected. Just as the Lord Jesus Christ came to Israel as a suffering rather than a conquering Messiah, so our Savior comes to us in ways, means and forms we would never anticipate.
Blessings are often enrobed in difficulties. Comfort sometimes accompanies rather than alleviates pain. Joy and sorrow exist concurrently in our hearts. Strength is "made perfect" in weakness. The greatest peace abides in the greatest turmoil, and the broken heart often discovers the wonder of the nail-scarred Heart in a measure unknown in any other way.
We must expect this seemingly counterintuitive way of God in our lives, and in this day. The Lord Jesus will come to us so quietly and unobtrusively that we will not see Him unless we are expecting the unexpected. Or He may come to us in the bloody way of nails and thorns that discomfits our flesh to the degree that, like Israel, we may feel as if we don't want who and what He is. Both challenging ways call us to the faith that opens our eyes to see, and our hearts to trust.
The time will come when we will instantly see and rejoice in how our Lord works in our lives. This is not that time. Presently, "we see through a glass darkly," and presently we must overcome the challenges to faith presented by the world, the flesh and the devil (I Corinthians 13:12). Our enemies ever seek to distract and discourage. We would all confess that too often we have failed to overcome their challenges. Our merciful Heavenly Father nevertheless calls us to the triumph of this moment, the triumph of the risen Christ present in every arena and along every avenue of our lives. Wherever we are, He is, and however we are, He promises to be whatever we need Him to be. Never has the Lord Jesus disappointed anyone who has trusted Him, and never will He. May we thus open our eyes to see, and direct our hearts to expect the unexpected ways, means and forms whereby the risen Christ comes to us in strangely garbed, but glorious power.
"He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him."
(Isaiah 53:2)

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