After A Weary Year, What?
My Gracious and Patient Friend:
This last month while singing the Christmas carol “O Holy Night,” I was struck by the phase, “A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices.” This, from my perspective, is very much “a weary world.” And how much we need reasons to “rejoice!” I for one am exhausted by Covid19, “lockdowns” and more “lockdowns,” uncomfortable masks, my local eateries being smother, and yes, endless elections. Weary is a good description.
Despite this I’m praying to recapture that “thrill of hope.” It was Isaiah in one of his moment of soaring inspiration wrote, “…those who dwell in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation thou hast increased its joy.” (Isa. 9:2-3). He could say that because his prophesy would continue, “…to us a Son is given…and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…and upon the throne of David, and over His kingdom to establish it, and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore” (Isa. 9:6-7). This is so true even today; despite our own darkness, maybe because of the darkness, the Light shines all the more. And the Son indeed reigns, “from this time forth and forevermore.”
Let us hear that carol, “and yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.” In our present weary world we should rejoice, we have just last month celebrated His birth, and in a few weeks we celebrate His “being lifted on high” on that cross and then His resurrection. And can we not rejoice that He seated at the right hand of the Father? He does reign. He is the Davidic King, and His purpose in and for us will be accomplished. This should be all that is necessary for that “thrill of hope.”
We can admit to being worn-out, drained by all this last year has brought about. It will take effort for this weary world to rejoice, but God will bring good out of all this mess. Even as is often the case God will take His own sweet time. It will take patience, and oh yes, faithfulness on our part, which is, to be honest, what our Lord always asks of us. When elections don’t come out as we might wish, masks are uncomfortable, we can’t do a lot of the things we want, and many are unable to attend church (mine meets in a parking lot under tents), we might view this as hard times. However, we have as yet not “suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment.” Have not been “stoned, sawn in two, killed with the sword,” or “gone about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill treated,” at least not yet (Heb.11:36-38).
That is just a few of the things our forerunner suffered for their faith, and still as the author of Hebrews states, “they did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect” (:39-40). God has His ways, these ancient believers were not blessed to see God’s completed plan of redemption, and His Kingdom stretched out to receive countless Gentiles. We, however, have been blessed to witness that promised; that the “seed” of election would rival the stars in the heavens, or the sands of the seashore. Clearly, God has His own ways of doing things. Certainly His own timing, His own unique design in this all, and will certainly have His own timing, His own design in what we are now struggling with. None of this, however, is God’s doing. Like poor Joseph languishing in prison for years because his brothers acted out of envy and hatred, and only years later could he tell them “what you meant as evil against me, God meant it for good” (Gen. 50:20). We now are witnessing our own “evil,” as those only partly informed or misinformed submit, that power corrupts, and how the thirst for power, not to mention fear, can twist human institutions.
“God works for the good,” but are we too weary perhaps from are own personal battles? Exhausted by what our communities, our nations have had to battle through?
Good will arise, ultimately, but it will test our patience and faithfulness. Still, only Jesus brings the peace we need, and the hope that enables us to rejoice, even if weary. For it is He that has brought the Kingdom, and all that implies. A reality that brings meaning to our weariness, and despite all these things, makes our rejoicing possible
“A thrill of hope, a ——- world rejoices…”
Thomas Randolf Wyatt