Waiting is no fun! If you’re like me, I struggle with waiting. When I was single, I waited for years to get married. God had spoken to me so clearly about marriage, but I knew I had to wait for the right person and the right time. It was an emotionally turbulent waiting time if I’m honest.
When I was finally married, I wanted to start a family straight away, but my husband wanted to wait. That was hard too because I knew that when we started trying there was a chance we’d be waiting much longer to conceive. That happened – we waited a little longer before finally having our first child.
In Isaiah 40, God’s people were in exile, oppressed and dominated by the Babylonians. They had been waiting for many years for God to fulfil His promise of deliverance and bring them back to the promised land. These were terrible, dark times and God’s broken-hearted people needed comfort. Through the prophet Isaiah, God spoke tenderly to his people with comforting words letting them know He had not forgotten His promise to them.
In verse 9, God wanted heralds to amplify His comforting message.
You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!” Isaiah 40v9
2020 is nothing short of a dark and dismal year for the entire world with coronavirus drastically changing the way we live. No more warm hugs and close natter with friends. Faces of dearly loved ones get unseen in many months. Even a leisurely stroll carries risk. The entire world waits for a vaccine hoping it would take us all out of this dreadful predicament.
And now the vaccine is here! It has brought great hope to a desperate world. All over the globe, news of successful vaccines dominates the headlines. Hope is finally here.
To an extent we can imagine just how God’s exiled people felt when they heard the good news!
Good news is here at last! Shout it atop the mountains! Your God is here! The conquering King! The Sovereign Lord! Powerful and Mighty! Promise-Keeper! The Great Deliverer!
But God didn’t want the heralds to stop there. With this proclamation of power came a gentle word in verse 11….
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
He gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40v11
The Almighty is our gentle God. Isaiah paints a tender picture of our God the Shepherd gathering lost and directionless lambs in His warm, big and mighty arms, cuddling them close to His heart. The Shepherd remembers the parents too – those with little ones, weary and tired, sleepless and having no time for themselves. Nothing escapes the notice of the gentle Shepherd.
Father God, thank you that You kept your promise to deliver us by sending Your Son Jesus to save us from certain eternal death and to give us life to the full. Amen.
Written by Lily Sawyer, a member of Hope Church Newham. Lily is married to David and they have three children.