Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 8, 2019
Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, with no one passing through, I will make you majestic forever, a joy from age to age. Isaiah 60:15 (NRSV)
The poetic language of Isaiah finds the prophet reflecting upon one of the darkest periods in all of Israel’s history, a roughly 70 year exile in Babylon. This was long enough for an entire generation to be born, live, and die. Like slavery in Egypt, their grief, sorrow, and loss was so intense and all that many had ever known, so much so that many likely had begun to think their story and identity was defined by tragedy and loss. Yet in the face of this temptation, Isaiah speaks a new word, holding onto hope that there is a reality greater than their pain.
In our own day, like Israel, we are constantly tempted to allow the tragedies of our lives to define us. Filled with sin and suffering, the world is not as it is meant to be, and as a result not a single one of us will pass through this life without sorrow and pain. You don’t need me to tell you that, either. You know this to be true whether you are 8 or 80! In each of our stories we have suffered deep wounds: the death of loved ones, abuse as a child, betrayal by someone closest to you, loss of hopes and dreams for a family or for children, and as a result you likely will spend much of your life working through your greatest pains in search of health and wholeness. And yet, without denying or minimizing your pain or loss, to be a Christian is to believe that redemption and restoration are greater words than loss and grief.
Like Israel, you and I can often feel neglected, forgotten, and hopeless. We feel like cities with “no one passing through” (v. 15), which is one of the worst things you could say about a city. We are wounded and beaten down, neglected and ignored. And yet, Isaiah says in the face of every wound and tragedy we face, “Arise, shine; for your light has come” (v. 1).
As Christians, we must believe that if God can bring Jesus back from the dead, it means our hope isn’t in vain! It means we have real, concrete reasons to believe that our darkest moments are not the most defining parts of our identity! As a popular worship song reminds us, “there’s no story you can’t redeem.” This statement is so much more than an empty sentiment found on the inside of a greeting card. It is the heart of the Christian faith and the source of our hope for the future. In Jesus, God has done what we are unable to do for ourselves!
Father, thank you that you are working all things together for our good and your glory, bringing healing to our wounds and hope to our greatest fears. Amen.
Do you believe the Lord can shine his light on the darkest part of your life story and bring beauty out of ashes?
In Jesus, God has done what we are unable to do for ourselves!#wisdomhunters #Jesus
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