‘those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.’
(From the Book of the prophet Isaiah, chapter 40)
In one sense it’s profoundly challenging to draw close to the nature of God. For God is beyond as, in Psalm 90, the psalmist acknowledges:
For a thousand years in your sight
are like yesterday when it is past,
or like a watch in the night. (Psalm 90)
and as the writer of the Book of Isaiah also declares:
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55)
In today’s Old Testament reading (Isaiah 40:12-17, 27-End) the prophet Isaiah acknowledges that neither he, nor any human being, can stand on an equal footing with God; the One who,
‘has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
and marked off the heavens with a span’.
‘the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
and are accounted as dust on the scales.’
If this were all we had to say about God, we would be left trembling like the Israelites on the footslopes of Mount Sinai in the days of Moses. Like them we would fear that, in his fierce anger; in his holiness, God would crush us, would strike us with arrows.
But it’s important, vital indeed to remember that Isaiah’s commentary is as much about the organisation of human society, as it is about the nature of human beings. The small kingdom of Judah and its people, chosen by God a special purpose, was beset by internal and external upheavals. Isaiah’s prophecy speaks to them of trust, despite their
sometimes chaotic and even painful individual and collective experiences.
Such a message is vital at this present time, and these challenging days for the lives of people from black and ethnic minority communities fighting for a fair deal, for people seeking an end to domestic violence and, for those addressing social inequalities fuelled by poverty, lack of education and crime.
It may not always seem like it, says Isaiah, but God is in charge, and sure to succeed. Don’t give in to the lie that your sufferings, your oppression is ignored by God; that God is blind to it. God is at work for your good, for your transformation; ultimately for your salvation, ‘those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength’.
God the Holy Trinity is a paradox, an almost unfathomable declaration of faith; that our One God is three Persons, equal and undivided: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Yet in the mystery of this union, we find God revealed, first in the face of Jesus Christ, who makes God known in ways we can understand; in compassion for the sick and blind, in passion for justice and truth, in forgiveness for the wayward, and utter selflessness and love on the cross. And secondly in the person of the Holy Spirit, who enlivens our
imagination, our faith, our hope; and comforts us in doubts and struggles. All to make God known as our heavenly Father, who runs to meet us; who longs to embrace us in his joy