Isaiah 41:13-20, December 9, 2021

Reading:

I am the LORD, your God,
who grasp your right hand;
It is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I will help you.”
Fear not, O worm Jacob,
O maggot Israel;
I will help you, says the LORD;
your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
I will make of you a threshing sledge,
sharp, new, and double-edged,
To thresh the mountains and crush them,
to make the hills like chaff.
When you winnow them, the wind shall carry them off
and the storm shall scatter them.
But you shall rejoice in the LORD,
and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain;
their tongues are parched with thirst.
I, the LORD, will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
I will open up rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the broad valleys;
I will turn the desert into a marshland,
and the dry ground into springs of water.
I will plant in the desert the cedar,
acacia, myrtle, and olive;
I will set in the wasteland the cypress,
together with the plane tree and the pine,
That all may see and know,
observe and understand,
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Reflection:  

 The time of captivity for the Jews in Babylon was a very difficult time.  They could no longer worship God in the temple in Jerusalem; they were in a foreign land and believed they were cast off by God.  They were like a child who was lost and could not find their way home until a parent searched for them, and found them.  In our own world, at times, we feel exiled from God.  Although there are good people in the world and we experience goodness and holiness in the world; we still experience darkness and being lost because of sin.  We will not experience ultimate peace until we are one with Jesus in heaven.  God wants to lead us home to eternal life.  In this passage from Isaiah, God tells us:   I am the LORD, your God, who grasps your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you.”  As Christians, our call and invitation is to allow God into the intimate parts of our life; share with God your joys, sorrows, hope, and difficulties.  By doing this, we become even more connected to God through prayer and reflection, so when we experience the rough patches in our life, we will know we are not abandoned by God, but walking side-by-side with him and eventually to heaven.