Hope: Has Arrived!

[reprinted from January 26, 2010]

— Henry Neufeld

And God saw everything he had made, and it was very good! There was evening, there was morning, a sixth day. — Genesis 1:31 (HN)

Sometimes when things are going bad, as they often do in this world, we find ourselves complaining about the way things are. We’re not complaining about God, we tell ourselves (and everyone who will listen). It’s all the devil’s fault that the world is so messed up, so it’s OK to complain. We can complain about the devil all we want!

But God saw everything he made and it was very good! Now someone is certain to be about to e-mail me to remind me that I’m quoting a text that comes before the devil messed it all up. It was good back then, but it’s not all that good now!

This is the day that YHWH made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it! — Psalm 118:24 (HN)

The heavens are making God’s glory known
The dome of heaven declares his deeds! — Psalm 19:1 (HN)

It looks like God thinks there’s still some good in this creation of his. He still thinks we can learn from it, and he still thinks there are things for which we can praise him.

It’s easy to become a pessimist, to be just a survivor in this world, hanging on for dear life until God steps in and cleans up the whole mess. Some Christians face life on this earth like concentration camp inmates, surrounded by a fence, guarded by demons, not quite daring to hope that their deliverance will come within their lifetimes.

But while we should be homesick for heaven, while we should remember that we are strangers and pilgrims here on this earth, we should also remember that we are the King’s children, living in the world that he made, and that he is the one who is in charge.

Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1-2 and applied it to himself (Luke 4:18-19):

The spirit of YHWH God is on me, because YHWH has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor, he has sent me to bind those who are broken, to announce release of the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind.
To announce the year of YHWH’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance, to comfort those who mourn. (HN)

That’s the day that God has made—the day of deliverance. But it’s also every day, because God has brought you and me deliverance. While we are strangers here, waiting for our homeland, we are free strangers, who have access to the king. We are the ones who know how things really are.

So if you’re seeing the devil’s world out there, filled with nastiness and things to complain or to worry about, how about a little recovery of sight? In God’s world, the one Jesus came to proclaim, those fences that the devil has placed around your life aren’t there. The devil wants you to think they are the reality, that you have to live in sorrow and failure.

Jesus proclaimed release. It has already happened! This is the day that YHWH has made. Not tomorrow, not a decade or a century or a thousand years in the future. This is the day.

If you are living in pessimism, if the devil has you surrounded by barbed wire fences, and has you convinced you have to stay in the mud until some day in the future, will you ask God to open your eyes and let you see the good world, his world, the one where you are free? If you already know that freedom, will you let it fill your face, and spread out over your coworkers today? Will you “proclaim . . . recovery of sight to the blind?”

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