Liverpool Football Club were handed the Premier League trophy this week. Jonathan gathered the boys in to watch the celebrations, and we marvelled at fireworks, sprayed champagne and the deafening noise of fans who weren’t even in the stadium. Red was everywhere, which delighted Billy who would pick red socks and t shirt every day if he could. And Jonathan is basking in glorious victory, much to the annoyance of others (some of whom might be reading this!).
Having spent last week’s bible study enjoying the riches of Isaiah 53, with the profound wonder of the cross front and centre, this week saw us basking in, and celebrating, riches gained through the work of Christ outlined in chapter 54. Victory greeted not with fireworks, but with God himself turning towards us and gathering us with tender compassion. A restoration of a broken relationship – fractured through our own defiant rebellion and refusal to go God’s way, but mended through the obedient, sacrificial love of Jesus. Love that grants us far-reaching, deep-seated, long-lasting peace. Peace as hostility between us and God ends, but also peace that pervades our whole existence. We stand on the firm ground of the cross, anchored in God-given peace. Stilled, while actively, energetically engaging with the circumstances that surround us.
The Reds rest on their laurels, but the new season is fast approaching – not fast enough for Jonathan! – and future victories hang in the balance, all to be earned afresh.
Thankfully Cross-earned peace cannot be taken away, and my relationship with the Creator of the Universe cannot be changed or wrested away from me, even when I fail to look His way and forget his overwhelming love.
I’m praying that I, and the ladies I’ve been studying with, continue to rest whole-heartedly, feet firmly planted, in the cross and the finished, unchanging victory of Christ.
(Just read these lines in Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund…wonderful picture of that merciful, unchanging relationship: ‘That God is rich in mercy means […] the things about you that make you cringe most, make him hug harder […] our sins do not cause his love to take a hit. Our sins cause his love to surge forwards all the more.’)