Text Isaiah 40:21-31
Preached FCCW, February 4, 2018
The prophet Isaiah wrote the words of hope that I just read — about God giving power to the faint and strength to the powerless — to a people who were in desperate need of both. It was a time of great trial for the nation of Israel, many of whom were living in exile in Babylon. The things that had happened to them rocked the foundations of their faith in God. They questioned whether their way was hidden from the Lord or if God had disregarded their right. In other words, did God forget about them or had God forsaken them?
Isaiah tries to quiet their doubts about God faithfulness by calling on them to remember the best that their own past had demonstrated about God’s nature. “Have you not known? Have you not heard?” he asks. Then he lists some of God’s attributes that they would do well to be reminded of. Like that God is everlasting, bigger than their problems, doesn’t grow weary, and whose understanding is unsearchable.
That last one might have been the most important for them to hear. God’s understanding being unsearchable is just a poetic way of saying that sometimes it’s just about impossible to figure what in the world God is thinking.
I’ve been finding God’s thoughts pretty unsearchable myself, this past week. “Have you not heard,” I’ve wanted to ask God, “that the Super Bowl is tonight? “Have you not known … the name of the team from Philadelphia the Patriots will be playing?” “Do you not care that the scripture reading assigned for this Sunday will mean I have to preach about mounting up with wings like… EAGLES?”
So far, I haven’t gotten any answers to those questions. Which leaves me little choice but to take the advice offered in this scripture, and just wait for the Lord.
Obviously, this is a tongue in cheek example of the unsearchability of God’s thoughts. And, just as obviously, there are many more important problems that can mystify us about God’s wisdom. Those of us who were on the Confirmation mission trip this weekend got a close up look at some of those problems as we walked the streets of Worcester and spoke with homeless people.
But the point is worth heeding no matter what our circumstances. The immediate effect of waiting on the Lord is that problems lose their power to dominate and define us. Waiting on the Lord is more than an expectancy of future deliverance. It also produces a change in our present experiences. Out strength is renewed. Even in the midst of the worst life hands us, we are able to mount up with wings of eagles. We are able to run and not grow weary. To walk and not faint.
Have we not heard? Have we not known? Has it not been told to us from the beginning? Let us open our eyes and our ears, and our hearts to the presence of God that surrounds us. We do not need to pretend that the darkness isn’t there, or that it isn’t real. But we can remember that God’s dawn penetrates the darkness; allowing us to be aware of the presence of God that sustains us.
God’s understanding can be unsearchable. God’s ways may sometimes seem hidden to us. But our ways are never hidden from God, who is infinite in understanding and unconditional in love. Or haven’t we heard?
Copyright 2018 Raymond Medeiros