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From Abandonment to Hope: A Reflection for Wednesday, November 30

By Gillie D. Abdiraxman-Issa

Daily Lectionary Reading: Psalm 124; Isaiah 54:1-10; Matthew 24:23-35

Selected Passage: Isaiah 54:1-10


Read

Isaiah 54:1-10 NIV

1 “Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the LORD.

2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.

3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.

4 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.

5 For your Maker is your husband— the LORD Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.

6 The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit— a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God.

7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back.

8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer.

9 “To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.

10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.


Reflect

At first glance, the prophet Isaiah points us to a difficult scripture, but if we know the context and premise, it is easier to understand the comparative nature of our lives. For instance, in v.1, Jesus’ suffering is the reason for our singing, yet it was hard for them at that time to believe in freedom since they were married to the Old Covenant/The Law of Moses. Moreover, we also see in Galatians 4:27, Paul compares Israel to an old woman. Israel was compared to an old woman convinced to follow the do’s and don’ts — the old rituals. Yet, the new covenant emphasizes Jesus and not us.


In v.7, The Lord tells us he has a promise. The promise has always been to take his bride back to cleanse and restore her.

7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back.

However, when we think of being abandoned, we never feel as if there will be hope. Many of us have felt abandoned for many reasons naturally and spiritually, and the pain that accompanied the hurt was felt for years and even to date, but God is saying just as he prophesied to Isaiah in this message; I am coming back to clean you and I have compassion or as it is defined: concern for the sufferings of you, the care for you, the tenderness and mercy of you.


I will restore you. I’d like to think this passage is a reminder that we need to not be concerned about doing everything right and excluding the grace and mercy given to us and living as the people in Israel were described as doing which resulted in God leaving them.


This reflection makes me wonder how God is inviting us to be cleansed in the renewing of our minds while asking us to cleanse our hearts.


Respond

The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time. One way to respond in your preparation for this season is to remember the grace that has been afforded to all of us who believe. God reminds us to partner with Jesus, who paid for all the sins of the world.

Tips to respond differently:

  • Read stories of grace and renewal.

  • If you are feeling abandoned in this season, or your motives and heart posture are seemingly very legalistic, ask God to create in you a clean heart and renew in you a right spirit.

  • Forgive others so you can be forgiven.

  • Listen to this worship song by Just Worship for encouragement. https://youtu.be/Lmk-7L7z-c8

Rest

Oh Lord, we thank you for rest. We give you all our love and heartache, turmoil, and joy for the coming days. Our hearts may be troubled, but we know you have compassion for us. We know you see us and know us. Thank you for coming back to rescue us. Thank you for showing us the way through Christ Jesus. Teach us how to love and care in this season authentically. Teach us how to forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into the temptation of evil thinking or evil doing but guide us in the way we should go so that you will get the glory out of our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


About the Author

Gillie is a lover of people and creative outlets. In her spare time, she enjoys quiet moments with God, imagining her next beautiful trip or preparing tasty meals for loved ones while listening to worship music; her new favorite is Victoria Orenze. Hearing and listening with clarity is a desire she seeks after often. She is a wife, a #Boymom of four, a Spiritual Director, and a budding author who helps entrepreneurs that are trainers and coaches establish stronger brands. Connect on IG: @GillieIssa and ask to be on her mailing list for her upcoming book by sending an email to gillieissa@gmail.com




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