I was listening to the Seraphic Fire recording of Handel's Messiah today. Any average time I listen to the Messiah I am bound to be captivated by some Scripture or another from it, as I have written about on previous occasions. But this time, it was a completely new aspect that grabbed me and, to be honest, made me heave joyful but surprising sobs that I didn't completely understand.
It was the words of the very first definitive proclamation of the birth of the Savior as having happened.
And they are recorded in the book of the prophet Isaiah, and were penned some handful of centuries before Christ.
I heard this with completely new ears today. Imagine it. The prophet proclaims that something has happened, already. One who is called God has been born a child. This sent my mind and spirit tumbling in a sort of timeless free fall where faith is the only solid foundation. When the prophet wrote these words, were they true? Were they fact? Jesus Christ was born something like 500-700 years later, depending on how you date Isaiah. But the prophet did more than see the future. He saw the heart of God. He heard the promise of God, uttered in the moment of the eternal gift of salvation.
For unto us a child is born
Unto us a son is given
And the government shall be upon his shoulders
And his name shall be called
The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father
The Prince of Peace
Then I imagined people who read Isaiah's words when the ink was still fresh. Ok, buster, where's this child? Nice poetry, but I don't see God ruling us. Why don't you go off in your little religious corner and daydream some more.
Maybe people did have an understanding and appreciation of the prophets and prophecy back then. But then I remember what Jesus said about how all the prophets endured persecution. So, maybe my guess is fairly accurate.
I think perhaps my sobs today were because I was rejoicing with the prophet that His words were vindicated by the concrete event of history that was the birth of Jesus Christ of the Virgin Mary. But it was more than that, too, for even the concrete event -- the truth of it -- can only truly be seen and known by faith. I was sobbing because I realized I was standing in the same faith that the prophet had. He saw by faith something that was yet to be. I saw by faith something that had happened. And yet in each case, the Reality of the One promised was present, right now, by faith.
And if He is present right now by faith to me, then that means that all those things that I long for, pray for, sacrifice for, everything that actually originates in His heart and somehow makes its way into mine, all those things are completely fulfilled in Him, too. Right now. Done deal.
Just like the child spoken of centuries before He was conceived in the womb of the Virgin.
And I live to pray into being that which already is. Whoa. Was that mystery-induced dizziness that just struck me?