O Come, O Come – Part VI
While We Wait
The fact of the matter is, the life we are promised is not a life of comfort and luxury. And this “eternal life” that we’re told we can look forward to almost seems like a tease, an impossible dream. But eternity and our present have one very important congruence—as much as God is present in heaven, he is present now, every day, all day. Our perception of him and ability to perceive and experience him might be different then, but he is here now. And I think that was his point in putting on flesh, that as impossible as it would be that God could become man, he did it. And it wasn’t just in his birth. The same idea of God being with us runs through Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection, and if we go to the very last words in Matthew, Jesus says the words himself in the Great Commission: “And I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Some days, I feel so worn out and just want Jesus to take me home. I think that if he would just come back and pick me up, I would be okay, but he hasn’t yet, so I grow weary. I don’t know what the deal was with my parents, but they were never on time picking me up. I’d inevitably be the last kid waiting in the dark for my mom to come get me, and it looked like borderline child neglect, and other parents and teachers would stop by and ask me if anybody was coming for me. And I would assure them someone is coming, but that’s how I learned how to wait for unreasonable amounts of time. I know that one day, however it happens, I will be home. And I’m waiting for it, because that means the end of all this crap that we are all so tired of, and instead of mountains behind mountains, there will be green valleys and pastures and brooks and lots and lots of snacks.
But that isn’t to say we don’t get discouraged now, going from mountain to mountain. So while we wait, we have a sign, the same sign that was given to Ahaz and to Mary and Joseph, no matter how good or bad they were. And the sign is a child, and his name is Immanuel, God with us now. God with us whether we have made a hot mess of this year, or whether he’s put us deliberately on a path we don’t want to walk on. God with us when we praise him and when we don’t, when we are broken or when we are whole. God with us when there is war on all sides of us, when we’ve gone so far as to sacrifice our sons and daughters to flames because we are so desperate for security. God with us when we are social pariahs and nobody is on our side. In all our ups and downs, from year to year, the narrative of the story will be the same, the same story threaded all through the Bible, history, in our lives, and into eternity, that we follow a God of hope who will never abandon his children. And the same overwhelming presence that Revelation says will one day wipe every tear from our eyes, that God’s name is Immanuel, and he is with us here.
|Debbie Kim, a Chicagoan lost in Los Angeles, is a graduate of the University of Missouri. Ignoring her high school English teachers prophecy that she would become a teacher also, she pursued a career in journalism. In 2006, she came to LA to help plant a church and work at a city magazine. Four years later, she has somehow found herself in UCLA’s education program fulfilling that accursed prophecy. When she’s not at the gym pumping iron or at the beach rescuing baby seals, she works as an indentured servant at Kairos West LA. Debbie appreciates good design, Earl Gray tea, butter and bacon, but not in that order.|