You shall not be overcome
Isaiah 40: 27-31
27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
‘My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God’?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
30 Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
31 but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.
The apparent distance or absence of God in our encounters with tragedy, and our feelings of abandonment in times of pain are all too familiar problems. Few are exempt. Often our experiences seem to defy us to find the words to ask the far reaching questions, far less attempt any answers. Rather we are stunned into silence. Perhaps this is why in the reading, when asking what Israel is thinking and speaking of, God doesn’t wait for a response, but articulates what he already knows his people to be experiencing, ’My right is disregarded by my God’ they cry. Anger, perplexity and weariness soon follow frustration.
Whatever the trouble, Israel is assured that what is already known of their God and his character and of themselves is pertinent even in the darkness. God’s intent is to comfort his people and to speak tenderly. Power to the faint…and strength is given to those who ask and received by those who wait, one of the hardest things for us to do.
Mother Julian of Norwich reminds us that, “God did not say, ‘You shall not be tempest-tossed, you shall not be work-weary, you shall not be discomforted.’ But he said, ‘You shall not be overcome.’ God wants us to heed these words so that we shall always be strong in trust, both in sorrow and in joy.”
There are times when
Like the psalmist, I cry
‘Why do you hide your face from me?’
Often I don’t understand the events
Occurring around me,
Or the anguish within,
And you seem so far away.
I want to walk and not be faint,
Run and not weary,
And even fly.
Show me how to wait.