November 23, 2021 - Isaiah 62:11-12, 1 Peter 2:4-10
Thanksgiving is a time for most to celebrate and be thankful for family, health and friends! It is an opportunity to see friends and loved ones that have been apart. The holidays are filled with anticipation of reunion and festivity as perhaps a son in the military or a daughter that is off at school comes home. For others, it is a time of difficulty and sorrow as loved ones are away and not able to be at home. Perhaps, a chair sits empty at the table this holiday season.
The Psalmist said to God somethings were hard (Psalm 60:3). There is no denial that some things in life are difficult to understand and challenging to accept. Israel could not understand the difficulties of the punishment that God laid upon them as He brought the Assyrians and Babylonians to punish and send them to exile. It was difficult to walk barefoot in chains, and with little clothing away from the promised land that God had given to this people. Despite their sorrow, God banished them for seventy years and the wails of the broken hearted cried out for understanding and relief.
Through this crushing blow, God worked to instruct and draw the people of Israel to a new and special relationship with Him. His plan would be accomplished and the Messiah would be born in the place predicted by the prophets. Even though the nation currently was shattered and broken, it did have a future.
There is a story of an old town with a great cathedral. In that cathedral was a wondrous stain-glass window. People came from miles around to gaze at the masterpiece of art. One day there came a ferocious storm, and the window was smashed by the wind. The window crashed to the marble floor and shattered into hundreds of pieces. Great was the grief of the people as they gathered the pieces of glass and carried them to the basement of the church.
One day a stranger came and asked to see the beautiful window and the people explained the tragedy of the storm. He questioned them of the fragments from the window, and they took him to the cellar to see the remains. The man then asked if he could have the glass and they agreed. Many months passed and one day the people of the cathedral received a letter of invitation from a master craftsman of glass to come to his studio. Ushering them in, they stood before a great canvas and with a touch of his hand the canvas dropped to reveal a stained-glass window surpassing the beauty of anything they had ever seen. “This window I have created from the fragments of your shattered one, and it is now ready to be replaced!” the artist announced. Soon a great window shed its beautiful light into the aisles of that old cathedral. The splendor of the new, far surpassed the glory of the old, and the fame of the strange creation filled the land.
Do you have dreams and plans that have crashed and shattered lying in a crate somewhere in the basement? Jesus is the master craftsman and can create something of surpassing beauty out of your current fragments. He took the stone the builders had rejected and made it the chief cornerstone of the building (1 Peter 2:7). He is taking living stones (believers) and building a spiritual house despite their flaws, brokenness, and rejection into a temple which He dwells within (1 Peter 2:4-5).
May the holidays be joyous as we hope in Christ and the fulfillment of His promises to His people. As a favorite hymn states, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”