The normal way of life: OMF Christmas 2017

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever” 

(Isaiah 40:8)

Transiency is the normal way of life, yet nearly everything else around us and within us tries to pretend that this is not true. We want there to be something which lasts, something that in the end will not be tainted, tarnished or tired. And that is what we see at the beginning of this wonderful section of Isaiah; there is something which lasts.

Tough times had come on the people of God as a result of their rebellion, but this did not mean that God was finished with them, quite the opposite in fact, as he promises them comfort. Now how does he provide this comfort? It seems that he wants his people to once again marvel at his grandeur and majesty. Is it not true that the times when we feel distant from God or we are spiritually drained we have taken our eye off the splendour and magnificence of who God is?

Did you see that there is a wonderful remedy given to us here? We are to listen to the voice of the one who is calling because he is telling us where we should be looking for the thing which is not short-lived. Standing at this point in salvation history we know the significance of this section; here is the task of John announcing that the whole order of the earth is going to be turned upside down (40:3-5). Is this not what we find as we see the child born of a virgin, living as a refugee? In Christ the old order of things is passing away “and the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all mankind together will see it” (40:5).

This ministry among East Asia’s peoples that we have been invited to by God is life transforming. In ways that we don’t fully comprehend and will often not see the result of in our lifetime we can rest assured the world is being turned upside down. This is the power of the gospel of Christ; people and places transformed as they gaze on the glory of God revealed. Over this Christmas period I want to invite us to ask God to reveal his glory across East Asia and among East Asian people. May they, along with us, be overwhelmed by the humility and glory of the Lord Jesus.

As we said at the start transiency is the normal way of life and that is why there is an urgency in this ministry. It’s not a frenzy but an urgency because we are all like grass that withers and flowers that fall. We must never forget this aspect of ministry because the task of proclaiming the good news of Jesus in all its fullness is still unfinished among East Asia’s peoples.

What lasts? What survives this world of transiency? It is the word of our God that stands forever (40:8).

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