Temporary Pain, Permanent Peace
By Mike Augsburger
“I wonder if I’m too old for this,” I thought as we walked into the trampoline park on July 5, 2019. It was an hour of child-like bliss, defying my age and pretending like I’m more athletic than I really am. Our hour expired, and I had successfully navigated the potential perils, but on my way out, I stepped down wrong on a pad and rolled my ankle. Reality check: I am too old to be at a trampoline park!
Swelling, discoloration, and an obvious limp alerted everybody of my injury and forced me to tell the story over and over again (to my shame!). The doctor told me it would take over 16 weeks for the ligaments to heal completely. That was my word of encouragement! In the meantime, it affected my walk, my knee, and my hip. Other aches and pains sprung up because of that bum ankle. One small problem affected so many things!
The world is far from being a peaceful place. Wars and fights riddle our news feed. Why is this true? You could say the world has a “sprained ankle.” There’s a small piece of real estate in the Middle East called Jerusalem. Three world religions claim it. Worldwide conflicts source from this place. You see, in the center of Jerusalem, there’s supposed to be a throne, and on that throne, the God-man Jesus Christ is supposed to rule. This will happen someday, but until then, the world will continue to limp on its “sprained ankle.”
Read Isaiah 60 with your family. This is a beautiful passage. It’s the portrait of Jerusalem in the future when Jesus is ruling and reigning. Interestingly, the season of Our God-given desire for peace cries out from our hearts during the Christmas season. Even atheists unwittingly long for the day of Jesus’ arrival to rule, reign, and bring peace. Why does this happen? Because God has designed us to want his rule in our lives. Look at what this passage says about the day when the world’s sprained ankle will be fixed.
First, instead of being a hotbed of conflict, Israel will be the fountainhead of blessing! In verses 2-3, the light of Messiah shines on Israel, and then Israel becomes the light to the rest of the dark nations. The world will flock to see God’s glory through Israel.
Second, instead of being a place for war, the temple mount will be the center of worship. Verses 8-16 describe a time when the nations will gladly bring their wealth to Jesus in worship of him.
Third, instead of being a center of persecution, Jerusalem will be the symbol of world peace. Verses 17-19 are unfathomable in our context today. Instead of war Jerusalem will be the pride of the world and the reason for world peace!
When will this happen? Unfortunately, it’s still in the future, but it’s closer now than at the time of this prophecy. However, God did give a word of encouragement. Read Isaiah 7:14. This was the sign. This was like the doctor telling me, “It will heal in 16 weeks.” There would be a sign! A virgin birth! A baby born who would eventually come to rule and reign.
That’s what we’re celebrating. The world has a severely sprained ankle, but Jesus was born, he lived, and he died in order to conquer sin and death for eternity. As your heart longs for peace this Christmas, remember the pains of conflict are coming from a temporary problem—a sprained ankle—but God is going to fix it! We have the sign, but better yet, we have the Savior. Lord Jesus, come quickly!