Isaiah 43"Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not! See I am doing something new! Now it springs fourth, do you not perceive it?"
I was never quite sure why this passage is one of my favorites, I know that when I hear it I perceive that slight stirring of my heart, and so I always pay attention when I come across this passage. And there are times when I have looked for it in the Bible, but owing to my very pathetic memory I can never remember the chapter that it is found in Isaiah and so if I do not have a lot of time I usually give up before I find it. Today in adoration was different, I opened the Bible and it fell open to this verse. I stopped and read it, and then read the entire chapter, and, finally read the verse again. I was reflecting on what the passage meant, both in terms of the historical reality of the Babylonian exile that the Children of God were enduring, and the transcendent spiritual applications of this powerful verse.
I questioned why, on this day, I was able to find this passage with absolutely no effort at all, and I remembered that just before I settled into my Bible reading I had been praying, first the rosary, than the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. And as I finished the Chaplet I was thinking of another family and how I needed to send a congratulatory card to their son who had achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Having two sons who are Eagle Scouts I know that this is an accomplishment and I lamented that I have not (and still have not) sent a formal congrats via snail mail (Facebook does not count). This brought to mind a recent disagreement between our families (in a discussion marriage laws) and I held back my strong opinions, because of that old chain: who do you think you are to preach`~ you cannot even be thoughtful enough to send a timely congratulations when it is well earned! I prayed "Lord, how on earth can your goodness come through me, I am not only thoughtless, I can so easily fall into enviousness, I can be so easily insulted, ect, ect,....." I quickly realized that this prayer was not leading anywhere, so I opened the Bible and there was Isaiah 43.
The whole chapter of Isaiah 43 is at a shifting point in Isaiah. His people have been severely chastised in the Babylonian captivity and he is now preparing the children of Israel for their future reinstatement in the land that was their inheritance. Isaiah calls for them to remember that in the past God led His people out of Egypt with power and wonders. Then Isaiah tells his people not to just remember the Lords wonders, not to think of that as something of the past but to look forward with confidence, for their are wonders occurring now, redemption is now at hand- can you not perceive it? And even though I am all the things that I was earlier lamenting about He was saying even so His goodness can come through this wasteland of my heart, and all the more if I perceive it and let His surging justice scour my heart of the weakness I so readily capitulate to. For it is not my power that I am drawing on:
In the desert I make a way, In the wasteland, rivers. Wild beasts honor me, jackals and ostriches, for I put water in the desert and rivers in the wasteland for my chosen people to drink, the people I formed myself, that they might announce my praise.
In fact, if I let my own weaknesses and fears block the power of God through me, that is my choice. For God who "Opens a way in the sea" needs only my humble yes; my willingness to follow (stumble, repent, follow, repeat ad nauseum). And it is only through a daily fiat, an offering of myself no matter how unworthy I am, that I begin to understand that whatever wonderful things God chooses to do through me it is by His power and through His mercy. He can make a path through the sea, He can push aside the debris that has collected in my soul and He can water the dryness that I bring on myself. I must daily take courage and confront my weaknesses and I must daily praise Him who gives me the heart to repent, And, wonders of wonders, after confronting my utter lack of goodness, His grace still can put waters in the wasteland of my soul and flow out from there.
Praise Be To God