Fifth Sunday of Lent 2016: The Old Testament Passage – Waiting in exhaustion

Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, who brings forth chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:” (Isaiah 43:16-17)

I know the writer of Isaiah is referring the Egyptians – “chariot and horse, army and warrior” – who came out after the Hebrews when they left Egypt; but that is how I am feeling right now – “they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick.” It sort of makes me feel for the Egyptians; I like better the “way in the sea” and the “path in the mighty waters.” I want to feel better and escape the health problems I am having. Maybe you too, beloved reader, would like to get away from some things that are plaguing you. And I suspect that the writer of Isaiah might have some things to say that will help us.

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Verses 18 to 19a)

If I had “Preacher and Seeker” here I am sure they would have something to say about this; something that would make us pause and think. But tonight it is just me, and I am exhausted and extinguished. I do not perceive the new thing.

“I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” (19b to 21)

But just because I cannot perceive what the Lord is doing does not mean I do not praise the Lord. I have discovered in the recent past that the Lord is moving and shaping my world in ways I could not have imagined, and in outcomes that I had not conceived of. So I will wait until my “vision clears” and I can perceive the Lord’s new thing. Until then, I will live by hope and faith.

In the days that come before Easter, that is one of the “tasks” of Lent; to consider how helpless and hopeless we would be with the Lord God. So perhaps “extinguished” and “quenched like a wick” is not such a bad thing to be, during Lent. When the hope of the Lord is still to come, in ways we had never thought, conceived, or perceived.

May you waiting through Lent, beloved reader, be a time of anticipation to see what the Lord will do in your life. Selah!