I have decided to combat my habit of not reading God’s Word by choosing a word to study each week. I just want to spice up my Word life, you know? This week, the word I have chosen is Redeem.
I was taken to Job 19:25. After he has been beaten down for almost twenty chapters, he is once again replying to the idiots that keep trying to convince him he’s an awful person. All throughout this chapter, Job is admitting that he thinks God is against him. He thinks God is punishing him, and he doesn’t know why. But then he says this:
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. [NIV 19:25]
Job is a man that has experienced some serious affliction all around. He has lost everything. He talks about how everyone he loves has turned against him. His own wife won’t be near him. He has barely come out of this affliction alive, and he is still being beaten down.
He is the definition of steadfast. Even though he believes that God is punishing him, he believes even more that at the end of it all, God will redeem him. He believes wholeheartedly that he will see God, and he can’t wait.
How my heart yearns within me! [NIV 19:27]
I guess I can’t blame him. I would want to go and meet God if my life was half as horrible as his. He is holding onto what he knows about God. He’s holding onto the Truth that God is his Redeemer.
Fast Forward to 2 Corinthians when Paul is speaking about being afflicted:
For this light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. [ESV 4:17-18]
It’s like Paul and Job were hanging out or something. Paul is telling the Corinthians not to lose hope and to remember where they put their hope in the first place. Their hope was not on earth. Nothing good is promised in this world, but they are called to hope for the eternal weight of glory. The weight of eternal glory will far outweigh any affliction on this earth and make it all seem light and momentary. Redemption is coming. Paul and Job both know that.
I struggle to believe in this redemption thing. My life is not as horrible as Job’s. Some people can still bear to be in the same room as me, so all is not lost. But I experience loss, loneliness, depression, anxiety, and other afflictions on a daily basis. What am I expecting God to do about it?
I want Him to fix the situation. I want Him to make me happy, and I want it now. Like that annoying, spoiled brat from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I expect immediate solutions for my problems. I want my time on this planet to be comfortable and pain-free, and when it isn’t, I don’t believe that God is there.
When I am experiencing affliction, I feel like God has abandoned me. I feel like He wants me to suffer, and that is confusing. But what Paul and Job are both saying is that the world=affliction. Ultimately, I will never be satisfied with the way the world is. I will never be content with my situation. I will always feel afflicted in some way.
The point of redemption isn’t that God is going to redeem me from my crappy situations or redeem me from my loneliness here on earth. The point is that I will be redeemed. One day, when it’s all over, I will be face-to-face with the Creator of the freaking universe. THAT is redemption. Redemption isn’t getting a better life on earth. Redemption is getting eternal life in Heaven with Jesus. How much better does that sound?
So while I wait, I groan. I groan for redemption. I yearn for the day that I will meet God face to face, and I prepare myself for that moment. I spend time with Him, pleading for His presence, worshipping Him, and sharing Him. Because despite the affliction I am living in right now, I will soon enough be standing before the Holiest of all that is Holy. And that, friends, is ultimate redemption.