LENT: PROMISE

When God makes a promise, He keeps it. Unlike us, He is always true to His Word. The Bible repeatedly reminds us of God’s promise-making and promise-keeping. We see it over and over and over again.

A FEW PROMISES EXPLORED

After the fall of mankind, God made us a promise that Eve’s offspring would crush the Enemy (Gen. 3:15). Abraham was promised that through his offspring, he would be a blessing to all peoples on earth (Gen. 12:3). Deuteronomy 18:15-19 foretells of a new prophet like Moses. From the house of David, the Messiah would be born (2 Sam. 7:12-16). A suffering Savior was to come (Isaiah 53). Prophecies that came to pass, of which these are just a few.

The Israelites waited and waited for the Messiah to come, and they believed upon His arrival, that the end would come. God’s Kingdom would be established here on earth. There would be no more sickness or pain. Injustices would come to an end. The battle would be won.

A TWO-FOLD PROMISE

Jesus was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, the promised Messiah in flesh. The arrival of Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom of God on earth, but the final consummation is yet to come. The power and presence of God busted through and is available right now, and yet, there is more to come. And as a result, we live in this ever-tension that some refer to as the “Already/Not Yet.”

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2

ALREADY/NOT YET

We live in this ever-existing tension of “Already/Not Yet.” We have the promised eternal future waiting for us in heaven, yet our feet are bound to this earth. We’ve already been freed from the power of sin, yet the presence of sin remains. We are already saved citizens of heaven, yet we still live in a sin-stained world. The war has already been won, but there are still battles left to be fought. We have forgiven others who have wronged us, but painful, unwanted memories still linger.  We live with these earthly scars, as the battle of faith rages on.  

But do you know the good thing about scars? They serve as a reminder. Tell us a story. Serve as an imprint in our memory book so that we don’t forget. They keep us humble, and remind us of the “Already”.

THE PURPOSE OF BATTLE SCARS: THE ALREADY

I take great hope as I remember that my Savior has lines of his own. They mark the places on his hands, feet, and side where he bore the punishment for our sins, our failuresour regrets. Carved into his resurrection body, the human body he took into heaven, the body we will one day see face to face. He has chosen for all eternity to live with these scars as a reminder of his love, forgiveness, and grace. 

The scars from my past remind me of how far Jesus has brought me. They remind me that He is in the process of redeeming all things, even the hardest, most painful things. Furthermore, they remind me that he has been with me all along. They are marks of his glory and grace, tracing for me the ways he has carried me, saved me, rescued me, and forgiven meI can look back at the stories these scars tell and see how Christ has been my strength in weakness. 

I have a scar on my arm that I can look at it and instantly remember the moment it arrived. There is a permanent picture imprinted in my memory bank. I was making dinner for my family in my kitchen, taking all the necessary precautions. I had my hot mitts on. And yet, ever so slightly, my arm glazed the top of the oven and I was burned. It is a forever scar.  

PRESS ON TO THE “NOT YET”

But that being said…I don’t stay in that moment. This scar doesn’t define who I am. I still use my oven. And spend time in my kitchen. I get back up and keep moving on. Why? Because my eyes are focused forward.  

“Your calling is not behind you. It’s in front of you. Forget yesterday—both the failures and the fabulous—and move on. Nothing can mess up tomorrow like hanging onto yesterday.”BETH MOORE

Face forward. Our scars are weaved into our story, but they do not define who we are. What will be true of you when this season passes? We have been given a new identity and wear a new label because we belong to Jesus Christ. My sin story has been re-written. There is a new twist to this plot. We keep moving forward, looking to a new day. We do so because we serve a faithful, promise-keeping, waymaking, miracle-working God. 

Prayer: Dear God, You are a faithful God. Help me believe in your promises. What you say will come to pass. All the broken pieces will be healed. Help me keep moving forward. Amen.