Some reflections on Isaiah 40

“27-31Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying,”God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”?Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out.He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall.But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.” (the message)

Food for Thought: An Interesting Reminder…

I believe in the power of the Word of God to speak to us, to transform us, heal us, convict us, prod us, push us, make us uncomfortable, etc. This week I had one of those moments. I have been doing some preparation for Senior Reception, and our theme verse is the one above. I love this passage. I am sure there are some of of you could say that this passage is one of or your favorite passage. Well, this week as I read, re-read, and let the passage soak into me. Let me unpack this a bit, see sometimes I have these moments where the internal story that I let run in my head goes something like this: “your not good enough, tall enough, think enough, talk well enough, etc., etc.,, etc.,” Maybe you have had similar thoughts. All of my life I have struggled with this, feeling like I don’t quite measure up. I first noticed this most profoundly in the 5th grade. It was my turn to do the morning announcements and as a stutterer there is nothing more frightening to a chubby 5th grade, who stutters than having to stand up in front of the whole school and speak over the intercom. I would rather have fought the boogie man, or cleaned a lion’s teeth than do the morning announcements. I botched my my last name, “good morning my name is Jason Re…re…ret….rether….retherford.” And then it went down hill from there. The secretaries in the office were laughing as I stuttered my way through the weather and the lunch menu. I was humiliated. I hurt deep down in my heart like I have never have before. When I walked back to the class room it seemed like the 4 adjoining 5th grade classrooms erupted in laughter, and finger pointing. I was the butt of every one’s jokes. Since then, the horror of the day replays sometimes when I get down on myself. I was having one of those self-made pity parties the other day when I re-read the chapter from Isaiah 40. God got my attention.

The passage addresses those in Babylonian captivity. These were God’s people who had been punished for their sin, and now strangers in a foreign land they are beginning to internalize a story of self-defeat and despair. “Surely God doesn’t see us, or care about us, we are nothing but no good sinners” They were beginning to feel like they were all alone in the world, but then God reminds them that they were not alone, nor had they been. He was present with them. He loved them, they were his chosen people to carry out his plans to bless the whole world, and now God was orchestrating their return to Jerusalem. You might remember the first part of this passage in Isaiah 40 because it is the same one John the Baptist uses to describe his preparing the way for the Lord. The Lord is being pictured as victorious and triumphantly marching his people through the wilderness back to Israel. It is a new exodus language. We need to remember that God knows what’s best for us better than we do. Learning to trust God is life long adventure. God doesn’t just work in our lives when times are great. He is present, and working when the dark clouds of despair roll in. I close with these words again from Isaiah 40:27-31:

“27-31Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying,”God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”?Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out.He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall.But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.”

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About Jason Retherford

The random musings of a youth minister.
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