From our lectionary readings for the first upcoming Sunday in Advent, the Prophet Isaiah writes:
“O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence —
as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil —
to make your name known to your adversaries,
so that the nations might tremble at your presence.”
Isaiah, Chapter 64, verses 1-2
As I ponder these words in mid-October, the Israeli/Extremist war is in its infancy, yet thousands have already been killed on both sides. Hamas provides services to its Palestinian civilians, yet they are caught in conflict in which they have no say.
My heart is broken every day for all people enduring such suffering and loss. Praying for peace sometimes feels futile.
In this war-torn world, we wonder if God has forsaken us. Is it fair to question God? Even Isaiah calls on God to stop the terrible fighting where innocent people are subjected to destruction and loss unjustly.
When we think about loss, whether it is of someone close to us or a nation of people, we wish in our mind that “things could be like they were” or that God would reverse time. So our prayers might feel like we are entreating God to make it right, instead of allowing God to fulfill his promises in his own time.
Although made in the “image” of God, we are subject to our own frailties and we need his assurance that he will “right the wrong.” But through our praying, we are also anticipating that God will restore all things in due time because of his bountiful mercy.
The Psalmist asks God to provide that reassurance:
“But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself.
Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name.
Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.”
This Sunday is the beginning of the Advent season. Once again, we remember and celebrate our coming Savior. The words of the psalmist give us hope that the coming of Christ is God’s reassurance to us that restoration will take place in his perfect timing.
Prayer: We continue, O God, to call on your name and pray for peace. We ask you to help us wait patiently. You have fulfilled your promise to send the one who can restore all things. Let the light of Jesus shine brightly in this season of joy and hope in our unstable world. Amen.