LENT Living in the Promise of God

1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad.
4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like streams in the Negeb!
5 Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
6 He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
(Psalms 126:1-6 ESV)

Oh, to live in the fulfillment of the promises of God!

To rejoice and know my exile has ended! That I home, in the place of promise, in the land of milk and honey, my land. Where the wadis — the dream streams and rivers that flow only when the seasonal rains come — flow clear and cool and fresh every day! To come back, knowing God has rescued me, redeemed me, given me a full harvest and done great things for me!

So that my sorrow is joy, my grief is celebration, and my nightmares become dreams. So that I can leave behind Springtime Hill (Tel Aviv), my exile home along the rivers of Babylon, and come back to the land — the place, the home — that I was given. That it is well and truly mine again.

Oh, to live in the fulfillment of the promise of God!

I don’t, though. I wake every morning in this אֶרֶץ נוֹד Eretz Nod, this land of wandering, knowing it isn’t my home, knowing I am not going anywhere soon, that the rivers may not flow and the grain may not grow this year because the rains may not come. My mouth may be dry and full of dust. All I have are seeds and sorrow. I weep, still, because I do not have the fulfillment of the promises of God, just the promises. So much warm, still, dry air.

I still have nightmares. And dreams … that are simply dreams.

And yet, I do hold something of the promise of God. I do live something akin to the resurrected life of Christ. Because I share in his life. He shares in mine. I am in him and he is in me. And so, this promise of God is not so empty a promise. It is already fulfilled. In the life of Christ, in his teaching, his healing, his feeding, his casting out of demons, in his proclamation of Good News to Israel and the world, in his life-giving death and in his death-destroying resurrection, I have the promise of God fulfilled.

Wherever I may be, I am home from Springtime Hill, from my mourning along side the rivers of Babylon, from my tireless roaming in the Land of Wandering. Whatever the climate, living waters drench the desert. Grain ripens in the fields, full stalks, golden underneath the late summer sun. There is no drought or famine or war here. The harvest is bountiful. My seeds have grown, and my sorrow is joy.

In Christ, I have a home. I am a blessing. I have descendants more than the stars in the sky. I have an abundance, more to share with all who come. The Lord has done great things for me.

In Christ, the Lord has done great things for me.

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