Friday – August 15, 2014; Revelation 15:1-4
15 Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and amazing: seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is ended.
2 And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. 3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:
“Great and amazing are your deeds, Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways, King of the nations!
4 Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come and worship before you, for your judgments have been revealed.”
Many who have read it (and some who have not) have come to see the book of Revelation as the dark story of the end-times, of God’s wrath unleashed upon humanity, as a precursor to the second coming of Christ…and event sometimes referred to as “The Rapture”.
I asked one of my seminary professors what he thought of the idea of The Rapture, and he just smiled (as he knew I was baiting him) and he told me that rather than looking toward a “Second Coming” we should instead look for the imminent presence of Christ in the world, in that as followers of Christ we are called to make his presence known right where we are! Then he went on to remind us that the book of Revelation is not so much the story of the end-times and or the unleashing of God’s wrath upon a sinful world, but a story of hope and support, which was given to those who had endured a season in Hell: the promise of God to deliver his children from the persecution of Rome; it was a promise that was kept, though it took some time.
God knew that patience is not a quality that comes natural to most of us…and in terms of those being tortured by the Romans, their lack of patience is understandable, this is why this message of hope was provided to those who were suffering. As parents, we too can often lack patience when things are not going our way: from a day that seems to get away from us with not enough accomplished where nothing seems to go our way, to facing a serious financial, legal or health problem.
It can be especially difficult to have patience with God when things are going wrong with our kids, as this can certainly be a time when we want things to improve NOW!
Unfortunately God does not always respond as quickly as we would like, nor is the response always what we would have hoped for…it is at times like this that we too could use a message of hope in our lives; however, we can often feel as if God is being silent as despite our prayers for help our troubles just drag on, and hope feels far away.
Yet, even when we may feel as if God is not paying attention, there is still good news: There is hope as found in today’s reading, hope in the power of God’s love for us, hope in God’s grace as is freely given through Christ…hope that God is always paying attention, and will never leave us twisting in agony and worry. Hope in the faith we share with each other, as we show each other support and compassion, sharing our experiences and letting each other know that we are not alone, that others know what it is like to be stressed, to feel alone and worried for our children…to remind us that it is never God’s Will that we know suffering or fear as we are well loved children of God, and that when all is said and done it is God who will be victorious as the light of Christ shines bright enough to banish any darkness!
Let us Pray:
God, please help us to keep our faith in you, even when it may feel as if you are not listening to our pleas for help and support. Thank you for giving us your hope and love, and for always listening to our prayers. Let us open our hearts and minds to accept the help and support from others: those who have gained wisdom as parents (single or otherwise) and those with whom we share our love and faith; and help us also be willing to share what we have learned from our own experiences to help those who are in the midst of their own struggles.