A Word of Encouragement for the Faithful ~ By Ginger Ward
He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war
Advent is traditionally a time of preparation, of watchful waiting, of hopeful anticipation. Yet, this year, as we prepare for Christmas, waiting for the birth of the Prince of Peace, we are surrounded daily by acts of violence and injustice. Each day seems to bring new terrors for which we are unprepared and by which we are profoundly disturbed, outraged and frightened. Confronting this, Isaiah has a word of encouragement for the faithful. Isaiah consoles us and challenges us by telling us the Lord is in control and the Lord is in control and the Lord will show us the way to leave behind our swords and spears and progress instead to tools far more beneficial to humanity: shovels and rakes. The challenge for us it seems to me is to trust God at all times, even, especially, in times such as these "to settle arguments between nations". Ours is the responsibility to "obey Him" and act accordingly. For me, this means first making peace in my own small world-speaking softly, acting justly, healing relationship wounds, apologizing and laying down my own "weapons". There is more to our challenge: We are "to live by the light of the Lord" (verse 5) which for me means speaking up when we see injustice, abuse, pollution of Gods' creation, violence, etc.. It is a heavy burden, isn't it? Yet we have God's word that we should "Fear not!", for God is with us and the Prince of Peace is coming!