Do You Not Know…Have You Not Heard!
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31).
These are words that we need to hear in these difficult times. When we listen to the news we may be tempted to be discouraged, even to despair at the things we see and hear going on in the world. We grow weary from the seemingly endless bad news we encounter in the news and the level of hate and disrespect for humanity that we see in social media venues. We are overwhelmed by the damage and destruction of hurricane after hurricane and earthquakes. We are filled with tension over the threats of war and the reality of war. We may be tempted to think that the Lord has abandoned us, that he has drawn himself apart from us. But, as Christians, we know that this is not the case. For we believe that he is closest to us in times of trouble, that his promises to us are true. Isaiah reminds us of God’s love for us here in this passage.
Here we are confronted with the mystery of paradox again. We encounter the ways of God and realize, once again, that they are not the ways of men. Jesus, in becoming man, was like us in all things, but sin. It is sin that separates us from one another, and from God. And here we bump into an “understanding no one can fathom;” even the worst of our sins, cannot destroy God’s love for us. The evidence for this for us as Christians is the cross. We may think we live in the worst of times, but we need only to look at the history of the Jews in the Old Testament and the history of the world, from the time of the birth of Jesus to the present, that the problems of evil and suffering have been present since The Fall of Adam and Eve. Even with all of that, God did not and will not abandon us. In Jesus he showed us the depth of his love for us and he left his Holy Spirit with us to teach us, to guide us, and to strengthen us in good times and in troubled times.
For our part, we are to live in the confidence of faith, hope, and love. Isaiah tells us here, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings of eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint.” It is when we feel the most wearied by the terrors of the night, the horrors of humanity’s often revealed inhumanity, that we must lean into our faith in God’s constancy toward us. We must put our hope in him, and count on his everlasting love for us. In this, he will give us the strength we need to continue to serve the poor and the wounded, to forgive the sinner, and to love one another as he loved us. he will give our hearts wings, that will soar like eagle on the breath of hope, a hope that cannot be weighted down by despair. With his grace we will not grow faint in our duties to live the Christ life even in the midst of the chaos that seems to abound around us. A holy man was once asked, “If there is a God, why doesn’t he do something about all the suffering in the world?” The holy man answered his inquisitor, “He did. He made you.” Jesus calls on each one of us to be that kind of person. Yes. Even in the midst of suffering. Especially then.
Lord, Though we are weak and grow weary, we know that your love and your grace are enough for us. In you alone do we place our hope. Give us the strength to continue to show your face to those who suffer with our thoughts, our words, and our deeds. By your generous grace, give us the courage to challenge those who would do evil with the converting power of your divine love. We pray this in your name, Jesus. Amen.
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