Long lay the world
In sin and error pining
‘Til he appeared
And the soul felt it’s worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
(From Oh Holy Night by Adam Adolphe)
I wonder if a thrill can be a quantity, like a pride of lions or a murder of crows. A thrill of hope. I like that.
My prayer for the past year is to be able to comprehend in some small manner how God sees me. It’s been an adventure, and sorry, much too personal (and embarrassing) to tell here. So many people are searching for their true identity. I think that’s why things like which-Disney-princess or which movie-character-are-you quizzes are so popular. While none of us like to think we are just like anyone else we read the information that assigns our butts to labeled personality boxes with fascination. The fun part about God telling you who you are is that he doesn’t confuse you with your sin or your temptations. Sometimes it is easiest for us to identify personality types by their weaknesses -or at least imbalances. Imagine being known only by your strengths -especially by the strengths that he knows about before you have ever seen a scrap of evidence of them yet.
While Gideon was still hiding out in a wine-press trying to thrash grain (which must having been frustrating because the exercise needed a breeze to carry away the chaff) the angel messenger called him, “Mighty Warrior.” That’s not how Gideon saw himself at all. He saw him as the least influential in a family of insignificance. That didn’t faze the angel. He wasn’t talking to a coward because the message was for the man Gideon was to become. Once assured, he did become that man.
These words in the second verse of Oh Holy Night caught my attention this week. We are way-laid by the identity sin has hung on us like a scarlet letter. I am an alcoholic. I am a gossip. I am a sloth. I am an incorrigible approval-seeker. I am a rigid perfectionist. I am a coward. What would we say if a winged messenger showed up in our in our basement while we were doing laundry and said, “Hail Mighty Warrior!” or “Hey there, favoured one so full of grace!” Most of us would probably turn to see who he was talking to. But God sees his children with different eyes than we see ourselves.
When we begin to comprehend that God sees our worth, that he actually likes us and takes pleasure in us, and that we do have significance to him, we desire to live up to his image of us. We can start to lay down our own burdens of pits of despair, clouds of darkness, or predictions of failure as we see him approaching carrying a thrill of hope meant for us.
And that’s a good time to fall on your knees and worship him.
Peuple, à genoux, attends ta délivrance! People, on your knees! Pay attention to your deliverance!