A Full Life in the Emptiest of Places
“If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people’s sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You’ll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You’ll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again.
Isaiah 58:9-12 (MSG)
Today’s Scripture is supposed to be Isaiah 58:10, but The Message translation is so well put when all the verses are put together.
This is so fitting for the end of this crazy year, I believe. A year of unfair practices, such as ripping immigrant families apart, a tax reform that benefits the already wealthy but disadvantages the poor, keeping healthcare away from poor children and pregnant women, undoing regulations that protected God’s creation, the gas lighting of our citizens until we do not know what is even real anymore, feeding the war machine instead of the hungry, the list could go on and on. The #MeToo movement, that many have victim blamed and shamed. Blaming the poor for their circumstances without seeing the systemic causes. We are living in dark times.
But then, for me, the Scripture takes a turn towards hope. It says if we are being our true selves, our shadow selves will bathe in sunlight. If we are feeding the hungry, giving ourselves to those who are in tough times, we will begin to “glow in the darkness”. We have the ability to be the light to those surrounded by darkness. All this bad news we see day in and day out is not something to weigh us down. Think of it as opportunity to “glow in the dark”. Where are you feeling called to go? Jesus said he is with those that are hurt or left out. Where can you find Jesus today? Where is the rubble that you can build anew? Where can you go and be a light? What community can you make livable again?
Jesus wants us to find the hurt, the lost, the left out. Jesus is the Full Life, through us, in the emptiest of places.
Ask God where he wants you to go this new year.