The seasons of the year are spring, summer, fall and winter. The Christian calendar also has seasons. Currently, we are in the season of Advent.
During Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for, and need of, forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was promised by his first coming. (http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/what-is-advent)
Watching the news, you see the violence, ongoing wars and acts of terror. You feel the anxiety and fear. You question why this is all happening. You wonder will it ever stop.
In many ways, it feels as though we are in a very similar place where God’s people were before Jesus came the first time. Before Jesus came, His people were crying out for a savior.
One thing we are assured of is that God hears the cry of His people. The question often becomes a question of time. How long? When?
Even when we question, even when we seem to have the right to question what is taking place, we cannot assume God is not at work. I am not saying God is causing any of the violence either. I am saying that while God is at work, we often do not see it.
For example, when was God at work or not at work in the story of Moses? Would you have seen God working to save all of His people as one baby was saved?
Now a man from Levi’s household married a Levite woman. 2 The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that the baby was healthy and beautiful, so she hid him for three months. 3 When she couldn’t hide him any longer, she took a reed basket and sealed it up with black tar. She put the child in the basket and set the basket among the reeds at the riverbank. 4 The baby’s older sister stood watch nearby to see what would happen to him.5 Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe in the river, while her women servants walked along beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds, and she sent one of her servants to bring it to her. 6 When she opened it, she saw the child. The boy was crying, and she felt sorry for him. She said, “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children.” (Exodus 2)
Would you have seen God at work as this same baby turns out to be a murderer and runs away?
11 One day after Moses had become an adult, he went out among his people and he saw their forced labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 He looked around to make sure no one else was there. Then he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. (Exodus 2)
It would be many years later. All the while God’s people were still slaves, crying out to God. Then….God calls out to Moses.
Moses was taking care of the flock for his father-in-law Jethro, Midian’s priest. He led his flock out to the edge of the desert, and he came to God’s mountain called Horeb. 2 The Lord’s messenger appeared to him in a flame of fire in the middle of a bush. Moses saw that the bush was in flames, but it didn’t burn up. 3 Then Moses said to himself, Let me check out this amazing sight and find out why the bush isn’t burning up.4 When the Lord saw that he was coming to look, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!”Moses said, “I’m here.” (Exodus 3)
Would you have seen God working through the plagues, to free people who would right away want to go back? They are delivered by God. They get what they wanted, but it was not enough. They still did not trust God. So they continued to wander. They wandered in the wilderness until a generation past.
Generations and generations passed until Jesus came as a baby in Bethlehem. Generations and generations have passed and may still come to pass until Jesus comes again, but we wait. We wait and know that God is at work, and one day…
Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water,[a] shining like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb 2 through the middle of the city’s main street. On each side of the river is the tree of life, which produces twelve crops of fruit, bearing its fruit each month. The tree’s leaves are for the healing of the nations. 3 There will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 Night will be no more. They won’t need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will shine on them, and they will rule forever and always. (Revelation 22)
…Jesus will come again and all will be as God wants it to be.
(All scripture cited above from Common English Bible Copyright © 2011)