Beyond Our Sight
The book of Isaiah is often a challenging one to read. The author doesn’t mince words when he sees fault and sin. However, today’s first reading is one of my favorites.
Thus says the LORD:
Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
with divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.
Streams will burst forth in the desert,
and rivers in the steppe.
The burning sands will become pools,
and the thirsty ground, springs of water.
Fear and fright are likely feelings we all have in common. They can be overwhelming and sometimes feelings we can become lost within. Isaiah reminds us of God’s response to us when we are frightened. The prophet surprises us with his statement on God’s vindication. Many of us would imagine clouds and flames or other equally dramatic efforts. Yet, Isaiah speaks of sight, hearing, singing, life.
Today I am reminded that sometimes we need our eyes opened, our ears cleared, the joy of song, or something lifegiving to respond to the fears we have. The issue underlying our fear - change, unexpected events, loss - may remain. Yet, with eyes freshly cleared, openness to hearing new things, we can find new ways to respond to the circumstances. We can see God at work in an unexpected way amid the chaos. We can hear the comfort of God through the words of someone sitting next to us in our grief. We can find a moment of joy to remind us of life beyond our present moment in a conversation or a child’s song.
Yes, sometimes fear is deep and profound and requires dramatic action on our part and on God’s. Sometimes though, our fear is a place where God can act to help us see more than the boundaries we have created. In broadening our sight, hearing, and life God can take that fear and transform it. We may still have the circumstances to contend with, but we can do so with the grace of God in our sight, hearing, song, and life.