We Did Not Deserve This Great Joy – But God Has Blessed Us Anyway!

What joy! The message that the Holy Spirit gives us today in this passage from Isaiah is a source of true joy and comfort for us. The image here is one of perfect love. It gives us an insight into the mind of God. It expresses God’s capacious love for us in such a simple and personal way.

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him.”

Listen to that first verb. The Lord “longs” to be gracious to you. He has an eternally persistent desire to give us his love and his graces in all that we do. That is a beautiful definition of love. He always has us in his mind. He “longs” to be generously gracious to us. And we know this because he has done exactly what Isaiah wrote here; he has risen up “to show us his compassion.” He did so in Jesus Christ. He turned his longing, his compassion for us into flesh and blood. He came among us to show us his face, to give us the experience of his love in the form of compassionate forgiveness and mercy.

Because the Lord is a God of justice, he has shown us his mercy. He has made us free to choose to live our lives out of that justice, or not. When we willingly choose to recognize and honor God’s justice with our lives he gives us all the graces we need to continue to do so even in the face of unjust threats and behaviors. We are blessed because we wait faithfully for his justice in all things. His justice is perfect, without fault. It is neither arbitrary, nor punitive. It is recognized in his loving mercy toward us. We did not deserve such a joy, but because he is just, we are blessed in our faith. Thanks be to God!

Lord, help us to wait for you in all things. Open our hearts and our minds to recognize the longing love you have for us. Turn our hearts from selfish ways and fill us with a deep longing for your presence in our lives. We thank you for your justice, O God. You are the source of our every joy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.