Devotional written for First Christian Church (DOC), Longview, TX
Isaiah 44:6-844:6 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.44:7 Who is like me? Let them proclaim it, let them declare and set it forth before me. Who has announced from of old the things to come? Let them tell us what is yet to be.44:8 Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? You are my witnesses! Is there any god besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one.
As the summer of the pandemic continues it can seem that this “new normal” is getting old quick. We are not going on 18 weeks of not being together for worship. While we have shifted to an online format, we are missing the constant in our lives of being in the church building, worshipping, singing, and learning together. But the old ways are behind us and now we have new challenges, whether it is troubles logging on, internet connection issues or the fear of the unknown with a virus continuing to infect people in our state and community, we are looking for something stable in our lives. We like the comfort of our routine and this pandemic has disrupted the lives of many people. Now we have a new set of questions that are needing to be answered. What about children going back to school? Will it be safe? How can the church help parents who cannot stay home for online instruction due to work commitments? Will there be another shutdown? When will this all be over?
In the Book of Isaiah, the author is proclaiming that God is ever-present and has been with the people of Israel of all times. God is the past, the present, and the future. God is the one who will be the constant in our lives even when everything that we have constructed has been knocked down, paused, or stopped. God is not bound by our time; God is not found by our formulation of how things are to be, rather God is present in all things, surrounding us in every situation.
While the proclamation of being present in times of trouble and uncertainty is not a new concept of the author of Isaiah, I believe that verse 8 holds the key for us today.
Verse 8 calls on the community to proclaim the goodness of God even amid the uncertain facing their lives. They like us are called to not to fear for God is with us but we are also asked to bring comfort to others. While we might not be able to worship physically we are able to share the love and comfort that is found in God. Whether that is supporting a family in need, donating to a local food bank or shelter or rising above the noise that is found on social media, we can all find ways to show that God’s love, mercy, and grace will prevail …always. Fear not, God is with us.
May we remember the words of Saint Francis of Assisi
O Divine Master,Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive, It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.