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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Isaiah 35:1–10

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (NRSV)

In Isaiah 35:3-4, the prophet admonishes, “Strengthen the feeble arms, steady the tottering knees. Say to the anxious, be strong and fear not. See, your God comes with vengeance, with dread retribution he comes to save you.”

This time of Advent waiting demands of us a sort of expectant courage, where we are steadied by faith in the face of the unknown. Steadied in faith to the degree that we can act with conviction, knowing that God is with us as we take tentative steps in our most anxious of moments.

I find particular comfort in the prophet’s words in this tumultuous and uncertain time. These words remind me that God will give me the strength to carry out what God has asked of me, if I only I have the courage to trust.

Steady me, O God, in this time of Advent, so that I can wait hopefully and act confidently, relying on the gift of your grace and your great promise in Jesus Christ. Amen.

Written by Alison Gerlach Blaser, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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