Saturday, 23 December 2017

He Shall Reign Forever and Ever!

Lettering by my friend @rach_forsyth

Jesus will reign forever.

That’s the incredible promise of Isaiah 9: “the increase of his government and peace will have no end.”

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas has a wistful line in it: “from now on, our troubles will be out of sight.” I hear that line and my heart swells and yearns with longing: our troubles seem so very present, and so very long lasting.  Our burdens seem stark and harsh and weighty: war and injustice and frustration and the whole world is groaning.

Yes, there are joys- there is the King’s strengthening, there’s his kingdom growing, there’s ways his justice and grace and humility are triumphing in the world. And these are glorious reasons for joy.

But I don’t think I feel that my troubles are out of sight. Maybe slightly less in focus? But not out of sight.

But advent reminds us that we’re waiting. There is an event in our future that is an eternity defining moment- as eternity defining as the moment Heaven’s Beloved became a new-born King: Jesus is coming again.

He is on the throne now- but the power and influence of his reign will go on forever and ever and ever.

There will be a time when he returns and when he will wipe away every tear from our eyes. Hallelujah!

But there will be more than that moment of comfort.

When a woman is pregnant and waiting, she is not just waiting for the birth day. Of course- there will be an excitement and drama and enormous change and relief in the moment the labour pains end- but the birthday is not the end of the story. After the birth day there are other birthdays, there are first burp days and first smile days and first step days and first word days and first school days and so on and so on.

Similarly, the whole earth is groaning with birth pangs.

But we’re not just waiting for the moment when the birth pangs end. We’re not just looking forward to the day Jesus returns, but to his reign: an eternal reign.

We’re looking forward to a new creation that is rich in all those things that fill our hearts with hope and yearning now: rich in diversity, in music, in climate and landscape, in health and happiness… there will be a new creation that will be tended to by the Ultimate Gardener, who is even now in the process of pruning and cherishing every new creation in his garden, including you and me.

We’re looking forward to an eternity of his perfect reign- of justice and peace and creativity and kindness and love and joy. The King will rule, but he will be with us. He will know us, and we will know him. The joy and love between groom and bride will be delightful and eternal and interesting and glorious and it will go on increasing in all of these ways forever.

We’re looking forward to future when the troubles of today, of this life, will be truly out of sight. There will be an eternity of peace and prosperity beyond our fathoming, fruitfulness and feasting beyond all comparison-  and our troubles will be so far in the distance that they won’t come to mind.

Jesus reign has begun already, and we’re looking forward to the day when the whole earth will see him and bow the knee. But we’re looking to an eternity, with Him, beyond that: and the increase of his government and peace will increase forever and ever.

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