Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” NIV
Candidly, I am surprised at how many reminders not to worry I am finding in Isaiah. I expected that there would be a lot in the Psalms … and I expect that there are even more there than the 38 that I have found there so far … but, this is the 15th reminder that I’ve found in Isaiah, and that was unexpected.
This is a beautiful verse. This chapter seems to me to be a prophesy about the end of a long hardship. In my Bible, it is called “The Joy of the Redeemed,” and it begins, “Wilderness and desert will sing joyously, the badlands will celebrate and flower — Like the crocus in Spring, bursting into blossom.” MSG.
I absolutely love crocuses. I had never seen one until a few years ago, but, the first time I found one peeping up through the snow, I was so delighted. It was the perfect symbol of hope. Spring was coming, the winter was almost over, and soon, all would be green again.
As I think about this chapter, and specifically this verse in the context of my project, I can definitely see how people could continue to worry and to be fainthearted, even when signs of hope are evident. It is at that time, when we can see the light, that we are called to strengthen our brothers and sisters in Christ and to encourage them with the news of what is sure to come.
Our God will come again.
When I was a kid, I think I was in about sixth grade, I was in a Sunday School class taught by a man and his wife. For one reason or another, they decided to unpack Revelation for us, a group of 12 year olds. Each week, we’d gather in our little room upstairs in the church and the couple would tell another chapter of the story. I remember that it was fascinating. I drank all of it in, and began looking for signs of the second coming.
It was an experience that in many ways has shaped my life. When things get really unpleasant here, I find myself thinking, “Perhaps today God will come back and then I won’t have to (insert unpleasant experience here).”
As I got older, and I voiced this perspective once to some friends, I was really surprised when this had not occurred to them. It was then that I realized what an impact those lessons had on me.
So, today, like all days, I will wait and watch for sign so of hope, and I’m ready … because I know “Our God will come!”