Chapters 40 to 55 of Isaiah come from a period where the prophet delivers words of comfort and consolation to a nation in exile. The Jews have been exiled to Babylon and are understandably distressed at their situation. Isaiah brings comfort to them by assuring them that God has not deserted them but is with them and will deliver them from their captivity. In the Gospel we find a parable that gives us a similar assurance of God’s ever-present care and affection for us.
There are times in our lives were the overwhelming experience within is one of desertion by God. Even Jesus experienced this when He cried out from the cross, “My God! My God! Why have you abandoned me?” Jesus expresses here His experience of the abandonment or isolation that is a result of sin. Jesus never sinned, but on the cross the Father allows Him to experience this feeling of abandonment. The truth, however, is that God has not and never will abandon His people!
Sin causes a sense or feeling of isolation from God by its very nature. That is, sin, being what it is – a rebellion against God and the breakdown of our relationship with Him – brings about this feeling of ‘lostness.’ This feeling only reflects the truth form the point of reference of our feelings. The truth is that God NEVER abandons His people. He may SEEM far away, but in reality He is with us all of the time. The role of faith in our life is to help us to overcome this feeling and to trust that God is there in our lives and to move forward in obedience to what He is asking of us at that time!
It is not so easy to do this in times of great distress and seeming abandonment. This is why God sent the prophets to Israel. This is why He calls us to live our lives within Christian communities so that we can draw upon the support of the brothers and sisters around us. This is why there is no such thing as a ‘Lone Ranger Christian!’ If we are going to be able to persevere through the good times and the bad, then we are going to need the help and the support of people around us. If we isolate ourselves from our fellow Christians, it will not be too long before we begin to sense a deep isolation from God as well!
Am I living a committed Christian life in the midst of a Christian Community that can help and support me in my faith? If not, why not?
Jesus, help me to believe that you are with me always as this is your promise to me. Help me to live in community with all of those who follow your will.