read: “Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to them, ‘Do not fear!'” -Isaiah 35:3-4a
reflect: Do you ever talk to yourself? Surely most of us do (please tell me I’m not alone!). Isaiah is giving instructions from God to people who are in exile, waiting for God to act on their behalf. They have lost their home, their neighbors, their extended families, their place of worship, their sense of belonging to a country, their freedom. Now they live in an unfamiliar place under a foreign power. Maybe you too are keenly aware of something or someone you are missing this season.
In the midst of such pain, Isaiah instructs them to talk to themselves. To tell their hands to be strong, and their knees to stop knocking together in fear. This is more than just a pep talk. Rather, Isaiah is getting them ready because he proclaims that God is about to act on their behalf. They are about to see God at work bringing them peace again. Isaiah doesn’t want them or us to miss it because our grief or fear distracts us from what God is about to do in our midst.
pray: When I am counting my losses, Lord, help me to look up, speak a word of faith, and have courage. Amen.
with children: Make a sign you can tape to your child’s bathroom mirror that will be an encouraging message s/he can say everyday this week.
act: Invite someone who is grieving to a special event with you. Drive there together and sit together at the event. Parties can be lonely without a friend.