Thursday, December 17, 2009

Trusting Good

This coming Sunday we will hear Elizabeth's words to Mary: Blessed is she who believed that there will be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.  Because those words of blessing and promise come from God's Word, they apply not only to Mary.  They also apply to us.

When we believe, when we trust God, we will be blessed--we will experience what is good.
  • Blessed are those who believe God will provide.  The phrase "God will provide" comes from the time God called Abraham to sacrifice his son, but then provided a substitute at the last moment.
  • Blessed are those who believe God is in control.  This does not mean that everything is God's "fault," but it does mean God promises to work everything out for good in the end when we trust him.
  • Blessed are those who know their sins have been forgiven, that God has carried them to the cross, that God no longer holds anything against us!  And how wonderful when we can release those who owe us an apology.  What joy!
When we trust God, God works everything out for good.  Trusting God brings blessing, peace, happiness and joy, even in the midst of trials and pain and sorrow.  Trusting God means trusting that we are truly held in his care, and no matter what happens, in the end, joy will come that will never be taken away.

In the Christmas story, Mary believed.  She trusted God.  When the angel said she would be the mother of Jesus, she said "Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." When she recognized the angels words as God's Word, she surrendered her will and let the Lord do as he wished--and oh what joy there is because she did.

Through Mary's trust, God provided a substitute for all the sacrifices you or I could justifiably be asked to make--and we could never pay off what we owe.  Through Mary's trust, God showed that evil and sin and death would not and will not win, God came into the world through Mary--and through Mary and her family's care the boy Jesus grew to be a man who would defy the devil, shatter sin's power and destroy death.  Mary could have panicked at the way God invaded her life, but she believed, and, so, was blessed.  In this way, she is a perfect example for us.

What is going on in your life today?  What is going on in the the life of our church?  What about in your family? Can you believe God is going to work it out for good? Here are some words of assurance from the Lord:
Psalm 31:19
"O how abundant is your goodness that you have laid up for those who fear* you, the goodness you have accomplished for those who take refuge in you..."
Psalm 32:10
"Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord."
Psalm 34:22
"The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned."
Psalm 125:1
"Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever."
Proverbs 29:25
"The fear of others lays a snare, but one who trusts in the Lord is secure."
Like it was for Mary, Christmas for us is all about trusting God, trusting that God is going to be true to his promises.  We really don't know much about Jesus' mother, but we do know that Mary and her family loved and trusted God's Word.  Look at the songs Mary and her family sing in Luke 1 (verses 46-55 and 68-79).  The songs are all about God's promises, promises that he had made way back in the time of Abraham and Sarah, 2000 years before the birth of Christ, promises given to God's people through Moses and David and the prophets of the Old Testament.  Promises that Mary and her family had hung onto for generations.

When Mary and her family sang those songs they were still trusting that God was going to make them come true.  Those songs are full of praise even though nothing truly great had occurred.  Oh yes, women had conceived and would give birth, but the songs are much bigger than that, speaking of the victory of justice and goodness and joy.  Those songs are full of trust that God knows what he is doing even when things happen that they cannot completely understand.

Then think about the songs we sing at Christmas.  In many ways, we are still waiting for sin to be done away with, for evil to be beaten... and death still looks dark.  When we sing "Joy to the World," "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" and "Silent Night," we sing even though all is neither calm nor bright, though we are still bowed under our burdens, even when the curse is still found and thorns still "infest the ground."  Pain and tragedy and brokenness and sorrow still wreak havoc among us.  But when we DO trust that God is at work even in the darkness, we do find goodness and love and peace slipping into our midst.

How can we trust?  When we remember the main event of the scriptures, that Jesus died and rose again, taking the burden of our sin and giving us the promise of new life.

So, this Christmas, and in the next year, let's trust God for good even when nothing great has yet occurred.  Let's dig into God's Word for those promises of good and let him take control.  And through the relationship of trust we have with God, goodness will prevail, and we will find peace and joy and love and all the things we long for most in 2010. 
*"Fearing" God is not the same thing as being afraid of God.  See yesterday's post Fear of the Lord.

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