When we feel lost, afraid, despairing, we are reminded that we are never alone and that there is a Divine Source whose eternal promise is new life.
Thus says the Lord:
Lo, I am about to create a new heavens and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind.
instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create.
For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight.
The Israelites in Exile
The above words from the book of the prophet Isaiah were God’s words to the Israelite people during their time of exile in Babylon. Jerusalem had been conquered, the temple destroyed and the people of Israel taken into captivity and exiled to Babylon. This was a time of great despair for the people of Israel, second only perhaps to the Holocaust of World War II. In the midst of this despair, God sent the prophet Isaiah to bring encouragement, support and a vision of hope to the Hebrew people. Through this experience, the Israelites were invited to trust in God, to cling to hope and to seek new ways of relating to God apart from what they had known in Jerusalem.
A Message of Hope for us
Isaiah’s message is a message of hope for us as well. There are times in all of our lives where we feel lost, without hope, despairing, alone and afraid. There are times when the things that had formerly been a source of support, guidance, security suddenly fall away and we are left there wondering, “now what?” It is during these times that we are invited, like the Hebrew people, to trust in God, to cling to hope, to be open to new ways of relating to God and to be open to new forms of support, guidance and security. We are invited to trust that God is making all things new and that on the other side of the despair is happiness and rejoicing.
A personal example
As I meander through the bramble filled path of divorce, I find great comfort in these words. All that has previously been a source of support, security, structure for me is gone. My routines have been disrupted, the natural order of my day dismantled, the physical sources of support are gone, the financial sources evaporated. All that I thought I knew about myself, the people in my life, my hopes, my dreams, my visions are all now put to question. And….I am left here wondering, “now what?” There are times when despair feels like the only possibility. But then, when I turned to this morning’s scripture, here were these amazing words, and once again, I find that hope is possible. So, call me a crazy dreamer, but I do find comfort in these words. I do know that in the end, God is creating a new earth for me and for my children. I do know that there is a higher purpose to this divorce and that magnificent things are coming to pass.
How can these words from Isaiah be a source of comfort for you in times of challenge and despair?
Authentic Freedom Ministries