It came off the page this morning: “I have kept silent for a long time, I have kept still and restrained Myself, (this is God speaking, timeless in time) Now like a woman in labor I will groan, I will both gasp and pant. . .” (Isaiah 42:14).
Long have I been fascinated with this prophet Isaiah who allowed himself to be an authentic mouthpiece for God’s intentions. I first heard of Isaiah from a lecture in college. This ancient Jew was unique in his multifaceted and very far-reaching vision through time. Isaiah was like an artist, one who saw the peaked mountaintops in a landscape, squished from God-dimensionality into a 2D representation. One can’t make this stuff up, it is too big, too beyond human ability. I tried to study Isaiah when a new Christian, but he was too dense. . . I keep going back to him for more understanding. Christ quoted from Isaiah more than from any of the other prophets, and He knew them all well. The words of the prophets are like echoes that keep resounding in the caves we are living in here. We do well to pay attention.
Yesterday, I worked on this piece, trying to finish it (and be done with it, frankly). It was unresolved, hanging there troubling me for its ugliness. I think I am done with it now; at least it is resolved compositionally. I still pretty much hate it for it is so dark, but I felt I had to complete it somehow. Then my husband came home and told me the news he had heard on his truck radio. My hand went to my mouth, as he choked back emotion and we both staggered to take it in. I cannot take this in: another slaughter of innocents. Child bodies, and blood, and horror. There are people now grasping for political solutions. Isaiah did not begin to see well until political solutions were exposed as dead, and then he finally would see God. You can read about that in his 6th chapter.
This piece is called “Mercy’s Purpose.” I feel I am to put it out there. This is not a display of ability as much as it is the cry from my own heart. I am as much a mess as the jerk in the mid-ground who is railing at/reaching toward God. But God is merciful. (Alot of religious people mouth that God is merciful, hoping that if they say it enough times, maybe it will be true.) You only know that God is truly merciful when you will risk getting to know Him. I do not know how much more time we will have to dally around in our caves. Open the Book and read. Jesus repeated Isaiah’s warnings, saying that labor pains would come. He also said He (Jesus and no other) would be coming back. The key is not the mess we are, or the mess we are in; the key is that He is the key. Ask Him to help you. Isaiah too cried out and learned: He is Merciful, but He is getting ready to move out.