“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
The prophet Isaiah is known for his comforting statements to the Hebrew people. This particular section of the book of Isaiah, dubbed ‘Second Isaiah’, is hopeful and comforting to the Hebrew people who have just been given permission to go home. They’d been exiled for years from their homeland, which held for them the stories of their past, the Temple in Jerusalem, and their communities. When the Babylonians overthrew Jerusalem, they scattered the Hebrews throughout the Empire, away from anyone they knew and away from the place they once called home. It is into this context that Isaiah preaches these words of comfort from God: “I will be with you…You shall not be burned.” The Hebrew people had been through a lot up to this point yet they still found reason to hope when Isaiah spoke these words. As we think about our Lenten journeys with gratitude, we invite you to reflect on the difficult times that you have been through. How can you see now that God was with you? How does God’s faithful presence give you hope?