Are you overwhelmed by bad news? Does it seem that tragedy is occurring all around you or that you are just more tuned in to it?
I can relate.
Last week brought news of another shooting. Another horrific moment that I am having difficulty processing.
A nation is mourning this tragedy, yet a Light is shining through the pages of media outcry.
A community is joining together in prayer. . . . A nation is joining together in prayer . . . .
LOVE is real and ALIVE. . . .
I watched Mad Max yesterday and all along I am thinking, it’s not possible that humanity can reach “that” form of depravity, is it? Then I am reminded of The Roman Empire. The same Roman Empire where people were stoned; torn to shreds in a coliseum; stripped, beaten, left half dead at the hands of robbers.
Rome was a world of conquest and hostility. We see the end of Julius Caesar’s reign and the beginning of Octavian (Augustus) in 31 BC. While Caesar declared war upon his country and was recognized as a “demigod”, his people were encouraged to give up their right of self-government and election and he became dictator.
Augustus took this a step further realizing that supreme power was required in this age of “Survival of the fittest”. A great crisis was at hand and an emperor was needed to control all legislation, administration and military functions.
Can you imagine what this must have been like for the common man? In Matthew 2, we learn how Jesus’ family had to escape to Egypt because a decree had been sent out that all boys 2 years and under were to be killed.
A great evil was at work.
I imagine that there was great fear and worry for the future of these people who lived in a dry and weary land.
So what changed in this oppressed time of history?
In enters Love . . .
Do you ever wonder why God chose this moment in time for Jesus to be born? I do. I am certain there were centuries previously where His People needed Him to rescue them from the depravity of the culture. But I wonder if it not only had to be a time of great need but also a time when we recognized our Need for Him? A dry and weary people, for centuries had heard of the One who would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), come from the line of Abraham (Genesis 12:3, 22:18), would be heir to King David’s throne (2 Samuel 7:12-13, Isaiah 9:7), would be a prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15) and One who’s throne would be anointed and eternal (Psalm 45:6-7, Daniel 2:44.)
Over and over again God used regular men and women to share His Love and Promises with His chosen people. And all along, they waited, searching for the Promised Savior. One who would save them from this desperate time they lived.
They expected a Great King to ride in on a steed to rescue them. What they received was so much greater than anything they could have ever imagined.
For 30 years after His Birth, we didn’t hear much from the prophesied Savior. At the age of 30, we begin to see a shift in culture. We read of Hope, over and over. We read of One who Loves His People so much. 1 John 4 shares it like this: “This is how God showed His Love among us: He sent His One and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is LOVE: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to LOVE One Another. No one has ever seen God; but if we LOVE one another, God lives in us and HIS LOVE is made complete in us.”
Jesus showed great Love and Compassion for the people of this day. They would come from miles away to catch a glimpse, to touch His robe, to hear His Voice. And yes, at the end of the human life of Jesus, He pays the ultimate price. John 15:13 says it like this “Greater LOVE has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Jesus paid the ultimate price when He gave His life for us. Not only did He die for our sins but John 16:33 says that He overcame the world! A world full of hate and depravity. A world of conquest and hostility. Jesus overcame it all because He overcame the sin in which evil was born. And by doing so, we were no longer tied to the law and our works but we were redeemed in Love.
Love entered in and the earth experienced a paradigm shift . . . Where prior to this time people heard of God’s Love through others, they now had a direct connection to The Father. Where prior to this time people looked for the Promised Savior, now He was with us!
After Jesus’ death, The Promise of the Father became sealed in the resurrection of His Beloved Son and the promise of The Holy Spirit for not only His Chosen but for all of God’s Creation.
The Heart of God was laid bare for all to see. Love not only enters in but LOVE WINS!!!
But the story is not over. After Jesus’ earthly ministry was finished, we watch as those Jesus poured into continue to pour into others. We see an outpouring of the Spirit over the early Church and we watch as those Jesus personally selected to continue His Ministry share His Love over and over again. The Love of a Savior evident in every generation to follow. Even through the persecution experienced over the next 300 years.
The Vine grows in the soil in which it was planted. And to this day, we continue to watch as our Father grafts in branch after branch of those who come to Him.
His Love continues . . .
Yes, we still experience tragedy, yes there is evil still walking this earth. We must guard our hearts and minds and continuously seek Him. Psalm 32:7 says “You are my Hiding Place, You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” There is no promise that we will not experience trouble, but we do have the promise of His Love, His Peace, and His Comfort through every challenge and every trial when we CHOOSE to WALK WITH HIM and LOVE THROUGH HIM!
You see, LOVE WINS because we learn who we are in a Father’s Eyes. LOVE WINS because He lives in us and gives us a greater Peace which transcends all understanding. LOVE WINS because He lives in us and comforts us through tragedy. LOVE WINS when we LOVE ONE ANOTHER. LOVE WINS when a community comes together and chooses to face hate with LOVE.
HIS LOVE is then made complete in us.
Father, You have told us that “God is Love”, You have promised that when we love one another, that You live in us and Your Love is made complete in us. Father we need You, we need You to heal this generation, we need You to pour Your Perfect Love into us so those who do not know You can see the beauty which Jesus came here to show. We pray Lord that You will come close to the brokenhearted and save those who are crushed in spirit. We pray Lord that You will draw close to those who are facing trials and tragedy and comfort them. We thank You that HOPE is ours in You.
Your Beloved Daughter