I talked yesterday with two chemists from Lilly; one is still in his role, and the other retired. Our conversation got around to talking about COVID-19 and the fact it was still very active in the world community, and how the mutations of COVID would probably continue as it was now endemic. I remember when the first of the COVID-19 vaccines received government approval, the world breathed a collective sigh of relief. Although still several months away, the end of this pandemic was in sight.
After months of development, the phase 1, 2 & 3 trials provided good data that the vaccine was both safe and effective. Thousands of people had to offer themselves as test subjects to gather that vital data. Divided into two groups, one set of test subjects received the newly developed vaccine, and the other set a placebo with no active ingredients. The active component of the vaccine, or any therapeutic drug, sets it apart and makes it effective.
There is a parallel here with these words of the prophet Isaiah:
Remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, "My purpose shall stand,
and I will fulfill my intention,"
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have planned, and I will do it. (Isaiah 46:9-10,11b)
The prophet is able to speak with conviction of the ultimate fulfillment of God's purpose because he knew that when God says he will do something, his words are always active! That is never any question of God saying one thing and doing another, making a promise, and then forgetting to honor it. He is holy dependable and a God in whom we can put our trust.
That is the truth we celebrate at Advent and Christmas. These are seasons concerned with what God has done - not just what he has promised, but what he achieved! They speak of the God who acted decisively in human history, wonderfully and unmistakably putting his words into practice! God did not just wish the world well and then leave it to get on with its own affairs. He did not just tell us what we needed to do and then expect us to struggle as best we could. He did not give fine-sounding promises that remained only promises. He revealed love in action, the word made flesh. That living Word continues to be active today in our lives and our world, and, through him, we know that what God has pledged to do, he will accomplish! Do you expect God to act in your life? Do you read God's word, believing that it continues to have the power to speak and change lives today?
Perhaps this can be our prayer this week. Living God, teach me to trust that you will do everything you have promised, your word continuing to work in my life and the world's life until your purpose has been fulfilled. Amen.
Shalom to you, my friend.