Advent 2019: How Long, Lord?
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” Isaiah 9:6-7
God promises a future kingdom with “no more death or mourning or crying or pain,” (Revelation 21:4) but that’s hard to imagine in the present moment. Headlines from 2019 include terror attacks in New Zealand and Sri Lanka, persecution in Myanmar, political unrest in Hong Kong, and economic despair in Venezuela. Over 20 million people are fleeing persecution, war, or violence and rising global temperatures are contributing to unprecedented natural disasters that have a tragic toll on human life.
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentation 3: 21-23
Throughout scripture, God’s people call to him, asking, “how long, Lord?” and oftentimes, whether by our own despair or looking at the pain of the world around us, we ask the same question: “How long, Lord?”
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habbakuk 3:17-18
Neither the author of Lamentations nor Habbakuk received an answer to the question “how long?” but their hope is palpable. Though witnessing destruction and injustices, the prophets trusted in God and had hope in a coming salvation.
In this advent season, we join the prophets and all creation “in eager expectation” of the coming of a new kingdom where peace and justice reign (Romans 8:19). Just as the prophets could rely on the God of Jacob who promised to go with him and not leave him (Genesis 28:15), so we can rely on the God who sent his “one and only Son” to save us from our sins (John 3:16). As we continue to wrestle with despair and ask, “How long, Lord?” we can have hope that our pain will not be forever and that the God who made us is with us, now and forever.
World Renew and the CRC Office of Social Justice are providing a devotional series for Advent 2019 called How Long, Lord?. The devotions will be delivered to your email every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during Advent.
Note: If you've received our devotions in the past, you are already subscribed. Enjoy!
2019 - How Long, Lord?
12/02/2019 - Advent | Call Me Bitter
12/06/2019 - Advent | Making Injustice about Me
12/09/2019 - Advent | I Am: Who Does God Say He Is?
12/11/2019 - Advent | Knowing Him by Name: I Am
2018 - Holy Impatience
12/03/2018 - Advent | Imagining Hope
12/05/2018 - Advent | Waiting for the Hand of God
12/07/2018 - Advent | Not Pity but Love and Anger
12/10/2018 - Advent | Who Exactly Is God With?
12/12/2018 - Advent | A Holy, Impatient Pranayama
12/17/2018 - Advent | Tethered to God’s Faithfulness
12/19/2018 - Advent | Looking Impatience in the Face
12/24/2018 - Advent | Holy Impatience, Holy Incarnation
2017 - Immanuel, Incarnate
12/04/2017 - Advent | Upside-Down Promises
12/06/2017 - Advent | Holy and Here
12/08/2017 - Advent | Pay Attention. Fasten Your Seatbelt.
12/11/2017 - Advent | Immanuel to Read Us!
12/18/2017 - Advent | Dressed with the Armour of God
12/20/2017 - Advent | Incarnate Gifts
12/25/2017 - Advent | Living in Darkness, Waking in Light
[Header Image: Flickr user Steve Jurvetson]