Rest: [Take a few moments of silence. Then slowly pray these words.]
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Read: [Meditate on the scripture of the week.]
Reflect: [Use this devotional thought for a moment of reflection. Today’s devotional is written by Eddie Kirkland.]
“Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!”
It’s difficult to deny the passion in Isaiah’s words. He’s angry and bewildered, and for good reason. He knows that God can do incredible things. He knows that God is powerful and loves His people. But yet, there’s only silence. Waiting. Wasting away. Wondering if God will ever show up.
Maybe the reason this hits me so hard is because I have several friends who are wrestling with some really big things today. These are matters of life and death: cancer that threatens the life of dear friends and family members, mental illness and substance abuse that are tearing families apart. In the midst of the struggle, I can’t really find a good reason for it all. There are no simple answers, only a deep sense that something is just not right.
This is not the way things are supposed to be.
That’s the difficult truth of where we live, caught in the middle of two kingdoms. When we see things like cancer and pain at work, it appears as though The Kingdom of Man is ruling the day. But as followers of Jesus’ Way, we believe something different is happening. We are bold enough to believe that God is actually King, and his Kingdom of love and justice is moving forward in the world everyday. It may not look like it most days, but we believe it’s only a matter of time before God’s kingdom comes in all of its fullness, and all of these things are somehow beautifully made right. That’s the day we are aiming our lives toward. That’s the “Advent” we long for.
The season of Advent is all about these moments. It’s a season of fasting, where we stand in the midst of the present reality and reach forward for the future. It’s a season of prayer, where we lift up the world around us and ask God to return quickly. It’s a season of action, where we find ways to bring the future to life in the here and now; in the comfort of a friend or the giving of a gracious gift. Advent is our waiting room, the darkness before the dawn, the exhale before our souls can breathe deeply.
Today, I want to use Isaiah’s poetry as a pattern for my own prayer. Just like in his day Isaiah was desperate for the Messiah to appear, I feel pretty desperate for Him to appear again today. My heart breaks when I see the things that aren’t right, for people who are weary from crying out for justice and mercy. Today, let’s all join with Isaiah in crying out to God, on behalf of the hurting world around us: “Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord; do not remember our sins forever. Oh, look upon us, we pray, for we are all your people.”
“That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it,’ not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.” -C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce
Respond: [Put your prayer into action throughout the day.]
Think of a friend who is in the midst of a very difficult circumstance. Remember them throughout the day and pray the simple words, “Come, Lord Jesus.” (To help you remember to pray, set an alarm on your phone or write their name somewhere you will see it repeatedly).