Incongruence, Isaiah 11:6-11
"Life wasn't meant to be like this." I don't know how many times those words have been birthed in pain as they left my mouth. Conversations where that phrase is necessary generally have a dialog attached concerning why God allows such painful realties into our lives.
Sometimes, even though we have done all the right "Christian" things, the bottom of life still falls out, leaving us bewildered, angry and confused.
"Did I do something wrong?" "Is there some sin in my life?" The questions bounce through our minds like a pachinko ball. The reason that we are so desperate for the answer may not be because we want finality, but because we have been divinely wired by God to know that this is wrong and that we were meant to experience something different, something beautiful, something holy.
Isaiah received a glimpse of what was supposed to be, as well as what will be. Through the Messiah, the cosmos would take on a whole different orientation. Instead of a world that is me-centric, and living on the brink of destruction, the plan is for a world immersed in beauty, love and trust of a kind that seems unorthodox to our current reality, but perfectly plausible in God's economy.
In and through the Messiah, natural-born enemies become friends and fellow travelers. Those most innocent and naïve will not have to worry about deceptiveness, as deception has vanished. Here, even a child can lead in safety and trust.
Danger and evil are birthed from sin. Sin obscured the beauty that God intended. It builds walls between people. It produces labels that further separate us from each other, but life wasn't meant to be like this. Deep down we know this, so we long for God's design; yet in Christ, we have already received it.
The Incarnation unmasks the incongruence of life on earth. God shouts through the angelic host and illuminates through the One in Mary's arms that He has not forgotten us. He works among us; His kingdom is working through the cosmos, healing the distortion that sin has caused.
God's kingdom of shalom (peace) is not something we create or manage. The kingdom of shalom that Jesus invites us into exists now and will be fulfilled when He returns. It is infused within the life of Christ-followers, finding its way out to others. We become portals of God's grace by loving people when they least expect it, and least deserve it.
At the end of all conversations then, the hope that is welling up inside of us finds its fulfillment in one Word: Jesus. In Christ alone all the paradoxes of life are held together. In Him the common language of grace reminds us to be incarnational people, as Jesus continues to make his appeal through us.
Gracious God, when our world fails to make sense, we thank you for Your Son, Jesus-who is restoring and redeeming all the broken pieces of life. We come to you in his name. Amen.