“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore, He exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.”
Kyle and I live in a quaint apartment downtown. We enjoy our personal space and particularly our respective recliners in the living room. There are many days where it seems if we can just make it to our recliners, all the problems of the day will fade away and we will be wrapped in the comfort of home. While this is not necessarily a false comfort, in the event of a catastrophe or deep personal anguish, a recliner doesn’t quite cut it. In the same way, our lives are filled with sources of assurance and comfort that are not inherently bad, but running to comfort or pleasure or money for refuge in times of trouble would be like running to a recliner during a nuclear holocaust. When we cling to idols to sustain us, we ignore the root of our problems and attempt to treat the symptoms instead of realizing the gravity of our disease.
God’s response to the Israelites in Isaiah 30 gives us a clear picture of His kindness in spite of our rebellion. Instead of allowing the Assyrians to pillage Jerusalem, God is gracious and merciful to His people and sends an angel to wipe out their enemies. Just like Israel, God does not make us clean up and get our act together before we come to Him. Our Creator cannot wait to give us the gift of his grace even when we have sprinted away from Him in rebellion. Just like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, we fill our lives with the stress and futility of insufficient shelter. At the first sign of trouble, our shacks we have built out of financial security or popularity or health tumble to the ground and leave us exposed. Instead of leaving us to fend for ourselves, our Heavenly Father cannot wait to invite us into His house. The assurance found in the House of God dwarfs the temporary comfort of my recliner and last so much longer than Kyle’s afternoon nap in his chair. In this advent season as we give and receive gifts, remember the excitement God feels when He gives us His grace and kindness. When you watch your kids’ faces as they marvel at the joy of the season, remember our Father and how He delights in giving us assurance.