This week we've been having fun celebrating our lil guy turning one! When we were trying to decide on a name, Dave and I had very different ideas on what he should be called - but Dave won out and I'm so glad that he did! Lucas means carrier of light or light bringer and he honestly just radiates joy. We call him our cheer-germ and he has been like a healing balm for my heart.
He is the baby that I surrendered having when God asked us to foster our nephew for several years.
He is the baby that I trusted God for after the pain of miscarriage.
He is the baby that God blessed me with when I thought that door had been closed.
Sometimes our greatest blessings arise from our places of pain and disappointment. Time and time again, God has met me in these places of brokenness and revealed Himself as my Redeemer. The Miriam-Webster dictionary defines a redeemer beautifully as one who brings goodness or honour to someone or something again. This is the heart-beat of our God - to take the things that we have done; to take the things that have been done to us - to take our pain and entwine it with His beauty; to restore honour back to our lives.
In Isaiah 61, God declares just exactly what His redemption looks like - that He wants to bring healing to, to bind up, our wounded hearts; that He wants to see us set free from the things that keep us captive; that He wants to open our eyes so that we can truly see; that He wants to comfort us in our mourning - to build us up so that where there has been grief, we now know His joy; where we have despaired, we now sing praise. He wants to take our ashes - the rubble that we have been left with - and instead crown us with beauty. He wants to help us grow stable and strong - to be oaks of righteousness - so that when the world looks at us they see the imprint of His splendour, His glory on our lives.
Yes, He wants us to know Him as Our Redeemer. But this requires us to be willing to receive Him.
At the very beginning of His ministry, Jesus went back to his home-town and taught in the Synagogue. Luke 4 tells us that He quoted Isaiah 61, declaring:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour.
He was speaking to a people under Roman occupation; a people who had been crying out for a deliverer, a redeemer. And He was telling them - all that you have been hoping for, all that you have been praying for, I am here to fulfill. But Luke tells us that they would not receive Him.
They treated Him with familiarity - isn't this Joseph's son?
They were angry with Him - furious in fact.
They drove Him away.
How often do we too do this? How often do we allow our disappointment and pain to drive us away from the very one who can bring about redemption.
We fail to recognise the power of who we have on our side.
We get mad at God for our circumstances - for what we think He should and shouldn't be doing.
We drive Him away and shut Him out instead of embracing Him.
The Israelites did not receive Him because redemption did not look the way that they had expected. They were looking for a military ruler to rise up and deliver them. They wanted to be set free from external circumstances, but God knew they needed a greater freedom - they needed to be set free on the inside. And He knows just what we need to redeem our stories.
God meets us in unexpected ways and redemption does not always come to us in the form that we may have anticipated - He most likely won't show up in the way we think He should, but He will show up! And while redemption doesn't erase the path we've walked, it can change the light we see it in. But for God's blessing to be able to be entwined in our disappointments, we must receive Him, we must receive Jesus. Knowing that as we choose surrender, as we choose to trust in His heart for us - no matter how painful the road behind or before us is - that He will give us beauty for ashes.
Where is He asking you to trust Him to bring redemption in this season? Don't lose sight of His heart to mark your life with His goodness.
Live today with purpose,
One of my favourite pass-times as a kid was writing. I used to make my own books and write poetry on our old type-writer. Thankfully both my writing and technology have come a long way!
It is my prayer that these posts from the blogging team encourage you to embrace the season that you are in and to live it with purpose for God's glory.
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