You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,

and a royal diadem in the hand of God.

Isaiah 62: 3

 

Isaiah is writing about the vision that God has given him for the nation. There will come a time when God’s people will be restored and their land will be the beautiful kingdom of justice, righteousness, and peace that was God’s desire and intent from the beginning. Unfortunately, for the Prophet and for us this is still a dream, a hope, and is highly contrary to the reality of our world. In light of this great disconnect between God’s desire and our culture, it is both natural and easy to simply say that the unrighteousness of our world is just the way that things are and to resign ourselves to wishing that Christ would return and change it all.

 

If God’s promise of this future cleansing and restoration is where we place our current hope, I think that we are missing the core of God’s direction and will for the lives of His people. Most of Scripture is directed toward the realities of living in the world as it is during these days that fall in the middle of the continuum of time. We are somewhere in the period of history that falls after humanity’s initial rebellion and before Christ defeats sin and death and all is made new. God is quite clear about the fact that He knows what this world is like. He walked the same harsh streets, encountered the same angry opposition, and entered into the painful grief of the same struggles that we each face. God suffers with us still.

 

Yet, the Lord also engages with us in living in this world today. His Spirit goes with us as we face opposition and as we encounter opportunities to demonstrate love, grace, and mercy to people. Christ calls us to act in His name without regard for the attitude or the situation of the people that we are engaged with. As we open our hands and share our hearts with the people who disagree with us, we are to do this with the redemptive love of Christ as our motive. When we allow God to use us, even when this means that we will suffer in various ways, we are people who display Christ’s beautiful crown of glory so that it and He can be light for the darkened corners of our world.

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