Scripture: Isaiah 25:6, 8 (Read further Isaiah 25:6-10, Mathew15:29-37)
ĎOn this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined. ..He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces.Ē (Is. 25:6, 8)
The vision of life that Advent gives us is twofold; it looks back to the first coming of Christ at Bethlehem, and it looks to the future when Christ will come again. In the interval between these two events we find meaning for our life as a Christian. Isaiah in this prophecy foretells of a day when the Lord will send out an invitation to all humanity, not only to Jews or Christians, but any man who is willing to put his faith in the Lord and walk by Christ Jesusí side in humble obedience. Are we ready to join the Lord at His banquet table if that day were today?
In the image Isaiah sees for the day of the Lord coming, he also tells us that not only will those who accept Godís invitation to dine at His banquet feast on the plenty that the Lord gives us, but they shall also endure a life eternal of true peace and happiness. For ďHe will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces,Ē (Isaiah 25:8). Such a day is hard for us to imagine during this moment in time. With the on goings of war, disease, and famine, with brothers killing brothers and sisters killing sisters, it is hard for us to believe that such a day will ever come to be. But even though the darkness that we sometimes live in on this earth may cause us to put skepticism on the glory that God promised to bring to us, we must not forget that the first three steps in this process has already been done and come true as prophesized. Through Christís birth, death and resurrection our day of freedom has already been won. Today we are living in the end stages of our Creatorís master plan, and so the day of His coming, the day of His Kingdomís glory, and the day of our eternal peace shall no doubt follow.
Reflecting upon my dadís recent passing I too struggle many times to find peace in the events of this world. I pray ďthat Godís will may be done on earth as it is in heavenĒ but sometimes I ask myself: How do I know which deed that is done on this earth is Godís will? Was it His will to take my dad from me so sudden and so early? Certainly it is difficult for me to swallow the notion that stealing the remaining days of my dadís life Ė before I got a chance to experience him in his fullness- is something that was of Godís will. How do we know definitively which events in our lives are truly done by His will and not by the mere reasons of life? As I struggle with these questions I could probably use what Iíve learned and what I know about our faith to give a reassuring answer. But the truth is none of us can know definitively the answers to those questions. All we have is our faith. Thus, we must ask ourselves: With what I know of the Lord, and of His kind, gentle and generous ways can I trust my GOD to only allow what is good to come to me? Through His birth into the world of man, and His life, and death and resurrection did He not give me, show me a means and a way to live so that things may stay righteous in my life?
Christ did come once to be our example, to draw out a living guide in which we may use to find such a day of peace, freedom and salvation. And when the time is right, He will come again to full fill all that was promised to us through the Old Testamentís prophets. Until that day we can live in hope Ė I hope that my dad is no longer suffering. I hope that he is at peace but mainly I hope to see him again. It is true that we donít have the knowledge of Godís will in our minds, but He has given us and shown us enough that we can have hope in His promise and in His love for us. The season of Advent calls us to remember those promises made by Christís first coming, and it also calls us to have hope for our future freedom. With hope, through faith and by trusting in God we can see in the purity of our hearts what Godís will is. And we can also choose to live by it to further guarantee that when the day comes, even if it is tomorrow, we will be one amongst those millions who will be invited to the Lordís banquet. And on that day we shall have no more death and no more tears Ė for the Lord our GOD and Savior will wipe it all away.
Lord, fill us with Your strength and wisdom as we wait for You.