SPECIAL CHRISTMAS MESSAGE - December 24, 2022
Updated: Dec 26, 2022
WHEN HOPE BREAKS IN - BY PASTOR ROB INRIG
(PASTOR ROB INRIG IS CLOSING THIS ADVENT SERIES AT ALMOST COMING TO THE END OF THE YEAR. HOPING THAT THESE MESSAGES HAVE MADE YOU RENEW YOUR FAITH AND HOPE, WHICH YOU HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR AS YOU HAVE LET TIME GO BY THIS YEAR, THINKING THAT IT IS NOT WORTHY THAT SOMEONE CAN LOVE YOU AND CARE ABOUT YOU, AND THIS IS THE GOOD NEWS BRINGING ALL THE WONDERS OF A GOD WHO WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU AND NEVER STOP LOVING YOU GIVING US ALL THE GREATEST GIFT AT NO COST, EMBRACE HIM, BELIEVE HIM, TRUST IN HIM, HAVE FAITH IN HIM, AND WORSHIP HIM AS YOUR SAVIOR, AND LORD IN YOUR LIFE FOR EVER AND EVER.)
This week I was drawn to the familiar verses of Is 40:28–31, Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? are God’s reminder for us to get re-attached to what we have known, and to what our hearts have heard – that as :22, 23 say, God is enthroned, “above the circle of the earth ... He stretches out the heavens like a canopy.” That He, the Lord, has everything in His hand and that everything, includes us – you and me. These verses are also His reminder that the One who has us, is LORD – Lord in name; Lord in position and Lord in power. The everlasting God. Don’t miss that - He’s the ever / lasting God. Ever telling us that there’s never been a time when He’s not been God; long before we knew Him, long before we believed Him. Lasting tells us, there are no resources that get used up, no resources that are limited to where they can go, no resources confined by what they can do. Because as Lord, as everlasting God, and as Creator God, His reach extends to the ends of the earth.
And as Creator God what does He do? He creates but notice where? - His ‘very good’ that we are told in Genesis not directed at mountains and stars. But turned to us – as He gives power to the faint, as He renews and increases strength to the weak and as He draws near to us who need to be carried, to us who need to be sustained, and to us who need to be lifted up.
And the only requirement? for we His children to wait on the Lord. Truth is we have a hard time waiting. This line moving glacier slow or our departure should have been 20 minutes ago. Arms crossed, pacing done, watch tapped, grunts made - displeasure. Waiting on others bad enough, but waiting on God? What gives with that? But what if our waiting is to be on tiptoes, looking forward at what’s to come? Trusting - like a child waiting on Christmas morning.
How do we do that is best conveyed in how that word sounds - to throw our weight on the Lord. To put all that ‘weighs us down’ on Him. To give. To trust. To depend. Actually the word wait means “to collect or bind together.” How? In the same way an eagle settles into flight, not by the flapping of furious wings but by being collected and carried by the power of the wind, then gliding on the thermals bound to its power. The Lord rescuing and providing, when we are weary, when we are spent, when what is faced seems too hard, They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles.
God, renewing, strengthening and rescuing like He did for a friend of mine who got behind the wheel of a car that wasn’t his. Actually as a valet at a long term parking lot, that was his job. What wasn’t his job was what he did when the performance car’s engine roared to life. Wondering how this car could perform with some real driving, he made a bad decision and took the car off the lot. His actions impulsive, far different than his normal way of doing life. Even then he hadn’t intended anything malicious but days later, his curiosity satisfied, he put the car back in place. The owner, away for a few days, would never know.
But meticulous, even to the point of keeping a record of the kilometres driven, this owner did know. That’s what brought the police to this young man’s door and what sent him into hiding.
This was the last thing he, and those of us who knew him, could have imagined. He hated the spotlight, far more comfortable living in the shadows. He had good reason – life had dealt him some pretty tough cards.
But the knock on the door was the final straw leading to his decision to end his life. Not in a violent way – that was not his nature. He just would let his body give out, slowly starving himself to death without food or water. So he slipped away where search parties would never find him, choosing an isolated piece of bush where events could take their natural course. Day after day, his strength ebbed away until he was too weak to crawl out of his vine covered enclosure. But while his body weakened, his spirit to live regained life. He wanted to live but 12 days without food and water had done its damage. He was too weak to move, too weak to even crawl.
But though he didn’t know it, the hope and rescue of the Lord, the everlasting God who gives power to the faint hadn’t disappeared. Rescue in the form of winter nights that were unseasonably warm. And hope arriving on 4 legs, as an off duty police officer walked his police dog. Uncharacteristically it refused his master’s command to return after it bolted into the bush leading the officer to the discovery of a barely alive, skeletally thin man.
Hope and rescue coming hours before an intense deep freeze took hold the very night the man felt the healing warmth of a hospital bed. It came in the words of a physician who declared that his body should have already passed the point of survival.
Hope and rescue that broke in during intense darkness. Rescue that appeared when hope had been abandoned. Hope that brought Christ into his darkest hour.
Hope, sometimes recognized, often not. But hope that appeared.
Hope that God wants you to know this Christmas. That He came to give you life. That He came to heal the broken places in your life and to set you free. Free from the sin that you’ve tried to hide and the pain and addictions that won’t let go. Free from trying to live up to some identity, some achievement you hope will make your life make sense. Free from trying to find yourself in all the places you’ve been running after. That is what Jesus, God’s Son, coming to earth is all about. That you can have your sins forgiven and through the shed blood of Jesus on the Cross, you can have a personal relationship with Almighty God. That He came inviting you to run into Him. God who loves you with more love than you can possibly know. Hope that appeared when you had no idea, that it was Jesus you’ve been looking for all this time.
Hope and rescue that arrived bundled up in strips of swaddling cloth lying in the cold stone of a feed trough. But even more importantly than that, hope coming in the incomprehensible of cloth left folded up and abandoned inside a cave of stone that had been shut tight. Cloth testifying that the death on a Cross hadn’t won because resurrection had come. Jesus, alive as our Saviour and Redeemer for all those who come to Him. And like an eagle caught up in thermals, Jesus waiting to carry us into a totally new life. This child, God’s enthroned King, a heartbeat away from responding to our call for help. Christmas Hope – God’s forever Hope rescuing all who call on Him.