While I was in the hospital I rcently met a woman whose life and dreams had been dashed to bits. When she lost her daughter to cancer, it was as if her heart was cracked wide open. She wandered around in a desert of pain. Now, having received a diagnosis of macular degeneration, she wonders how long she will be able to drive before she is declared legally blind. Once again, she is facing the dark night of the soul. Are there any words that can give her hope?
When it seems as though daybreak will never come, when we need the promise of good news in a bad situation, Isaiah declares that God will come to save us. For the Israelites who had endured years of exile, hearing Isaiah's words must have seemed a total disconnect from the suffering they had experienced. And yet, Isaiah says, God will appear. God will come to save you!
Do these words take suffering away? Of course not. Perhaps all they can do is crack open the hard, protective shells we put over our hearts when we are in pain and allow the tiniest glimmer of hope to slip in. But sometimes, that is enough to get us through another dark night.
Dear God, come to us and remain with us when our hope is shattered and small. Grant us vision to see the ways you choose to make yourself known. For you are the One who has redeemed and sustains us. Amen.
Isaiah 35:4-7a (NRSV)
4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you."
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;
7 the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water.