God Is Redeemer

“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame.
   Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you.
You will no longer remember the shame of your youth
   and the sorrows of widowhood.
For your Creator will be your husband;
   the LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
   the God of all the earth.
For the LORD has called you back from your grief—
   as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,”
   says your God.
“For a brief moment I abandoned you,
   but with great compassion I will take you back.
In a burst of anger I turned my face away for a little while.
   But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
   says the LORD, your Redeemer. (Isaiah 54:4–8 NLT)

In his 1965 commencement address at Oberlin College, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” This was his attempt to rally people behind the necessary “work for peace, for racial justice, for economic justice, and for brotherhood the world over.” He wanted to not only spur this graduating class on to acts of justice but to encourage them that, despite what would often be the immediate evidence to the contrary, eventually justice would prevail. Dr. King titled his speech “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution.”

Looking at the broader scope of justice beyond American politics, and even politics in general, God is actively at work redeeming all things unto himself. Jesus’s arrival as a babe in a Bethlehem manger was not the beginning of this work, nor was his death on a Jerusalem cross the end, but both were steps on this journey, necessary pieces for our Lord, the Redeemer, to enact the ultimate redemption story.

The question still remains, though, if we will choose to join our Redeemer Lord in this struggle or if we would rather sleep through the greatest revolution known to creation. If we desire to ultimately be on the side of right and justice – if we seek to be even just a small part of the redemptive arc of history that began in Genesis and ends with the New Heaven and New Earth mentioned in Revelation– rather than sitting on the sidelines, we must purposefully step into the necessary, hard work to promote shalom in our world. And that requires that we allow God to lead us where he knows we will be most beneficial to the Kingdom and we will receive the most joy, even in the midst of the hard work in front of us.

What this work looks like is as uniquely different as we are from each other. It might be working with the unhoused in your community to help them find resources or permanent shelter. It could include befriending the neighbor everyone avoids. Maybe you’ll find God pulling you to promote care for his creation by teaching others about urban gardening, or maybe God will lead people into your path for you to share of his love for them.

Devote a dedicated time of prayer today to ask God how he wants you to be part of this grand redemption story and what role he has set aside for you.