Hope is a Promise
Hope. This is what the prophets promise us. Every time. Despite their dire warnings that choosing to live apart from God’s covenant of love and loyalty will undoubtedly result in destruction, the prophets never leave us without some hope. And that’s definitely the case in Isaiah 33.
The only reason we need hope is because sometimes things are really bad. Destruction, tumult, fear, broken promises: Isaiah says even the land itself mourns for what has happened, for what God’s people have brought upon themselves. And yet … God is not finished. God has promised restoration, and that is where we ground our hope. Like our spiritual ancestors, we don’t just wish or assume that things will get better on their own. We stake our lives on the promises of the One we know. We remember that God has been faithful in the past and so we trust that God will be faithful in the future as well.
This is not an easy task. Hope is radical, especially when we are honest about what is happening around us. To trust that what we see now is not all that can ever be, to choose to see God’s good future breaking out in the midst of our present is a powerful act of resistance. When we choose to see God’s future instead of our present (see verses 17-22), we will find that God has given us the strength and courage to begin living in that future right now. And that is how we demonstrate our hope.
Read Isaiah 33 again and look for all the good things that the prophet says will happen (key word: “will”). Then ask God to give you hope for what will happen in the situations, both personal and cultural, where you are tempted to feel hopeless.
Rev. Beth Gedert is the pastor of Zion United Church of Christ, an Open and Affirming church seeking to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God in Delaware, Ohio
©2019 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.