Icy desert nights bring clarity to the view of the sky. I slept outside one winter’s night at a youth camp in a remote location. Near midnight I awoke, cold and uncomfortable—but I released both feelings as I opened my eyes. I had never seen a sky like that before: deep layers of stars, clusters and constellations that crowded out the dark with their brightness. What an astounding thought that those same stars shone every night, but I had never seen them.
Today we end our week in the desert by looking to the heavens, seeking God anew. God’s ways and thoughts are far higher than our own partial and limited ones. Just as we perceive only a portion of the night sky, we perceive only a hint of God’s majesty. Yet, even this incomplete glimpse will convict us of our desperate need for God and fill us with reverent awe.
“Seek the Lord; . . . call upon him; . . . return to the Lord.” The prophet gives voice to an urgency: seize hold of repentance and restoration now, for our God “will abundantly pardon.”
Through Isaiah, God calls each of us out of our slumbering states. We are to awake from the superficiality that has infiltrated our lives and rise above the ingratitude and complacency that have taken root, even in the midst of abundant blessing. We then examine our lives for spiritual fruit. If we lack that fruit, we must return to the vine to allow Christ’s life-giving sustenance to flow through us again (John 15:5).
Let us not tarry to bring ourselves and others to God, for now is the time that God is near!
Lord, turn my eyes toward you and draw me out of sleep into a fruitful relationship with you. Amen.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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