By Randy Weener
Our minds get mired in the messes of political gridlock, fractured families, and crowded calendars. Our hearts ache over the leading articles in our newsfeed announcing the carnage of yet another earthquake, flood, refugee trauma, or terrorist strike. Piercing through that hovering cloud of despair come these welcome words: “The Lord reigns.”
Creation is the first to receive this good news in the opening verses of Psalm 97. Hope resides in a righteous and just ruler who will prevail. Before him the mountains will melt, the heavens will herald and the peoples will behold his glory. The result: “Let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice” (v. 1, NIV).
But there is good news for God’s people as well. In the final five verses the psalmist turns his attention to lifting our spirits. The Most High Lord is above all—all the earth, all other gods, all circumstances that raise our blood pressure and steal our sleep. He is ruler, sovereign, in charge, aware, and on his throne, and he is the victor. Therefore, “rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name” (v. 12, NIV).
But how can it sound so good when it looks so bad? Don’t be deceived. God’s supremacy might surprise you. It surprised Jesus’ disciples. Who recognized his reign as it was inaugurated in a cattle stall, in the person of a defenseless infant, birthed and tended by a peasant girl carrying a passport from a forgettable village? Even 30-plus years later they hadn’t figured it out as he was paraded into Jerusalem for his coronation, only to be executed as a criminal. The Lord reigns. But don’t just look for the obvious. Listen to the transformational testimony of a new Jesus-follower, be awed by the restorative power of once-charred turf, and celebrate unlikely companions locking arms to right an injustice.
The Lord still reigns!
Prayer: Lord, lift our eyes from what is discouragingly obvious to recognize that you reign, even today. Gift us with the privilege to encourage someone else today with that good news.
Randy Weener is classis leader for Great Lakes City Classis and Church Multiplication catalyst for the RCA. The 2016 Advent devotions were written by RCA church planters and parent churches.