Scripture: Isaiah 49:13-23
Key verse: (13) “For the LORD has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his suffering ones.”
Reflection: The book of Isaiah is full of warnings and hope. It is divided into three parts each reflecting a particular period of time in the history of Israel. It reflects the joys and concerns of God’s people. Today’s passage falls during the time before and immediately after the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon. It contains a promise of restoration even though the people are being held in captivity. None of us know what it is like to be taken from our homes by force to a foreign land, but we do know what it is like to be exiled from our lives or disconnected from God, ourselves and others. The pandemic we are living through now is our version of an exile – a time when we have become more aware of all the things we have taken for granted and the illness that is keeping all of us apart. For some, this has been a time of discovery and learning: how far we have drifted from God? where we have placed our trust? For others, grief and illness have created of feeling of being separated from God. The pain of isolation and wondering if we are forgotten, is real and debilitating. This is a challenging time.
Out of the pages of scripture, God offers words of hope. Hope born out of distress and not comfort. The verse I have highlighted above reminds us that God has compassion on us and that God’s promises are real. This free gift of God’s love that we just celebrated at Christmas, is the same love that will sustain us through today and the days ahead. All we have to do is lift up our heads and look toward Christ – not as a way to escape the challenges of life, but as a way to face them head on, knowing that God is with us now and always. Wait on the LORD, scripture says. Even though we are fatigued, God reminds us that nothing lasts forever. God has not forgotten us. God has not forgotten you.
Prayer: Loving Lord, help us find a way to depend more and more on you, trusting in your promises. Give us the strength to wait on you knowing that nothing can separate us from your love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
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[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].