Advent 2, Friday, Year A

Inspired by Isaiah 30:19-26

“Truly, O people in Zion, inhabitants of Jerusalem, you shall weep no more.  He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you.  Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.  And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”  Isaiah 30:19-21 (NRSV)

Life is full of difficult decisions, many of them forced on us by a cold and selfish world.  Despite our best efforts, sometimes there are no good choices that would honor God and proclaim his goodness; sometimes we can only choose the lesser of two or more evils, and hope we don’t cause too much harm in the process.  We wonder why God would give us such adversity and affliction, wonder if he’s intentionally setting us up to fail.

Some of the adversity and affliction we face may indeed be from him, for reasons we’re unwilling or unable to recognize or understand.   But much more of it comes from our own choices or actions, or the choices and actions of others, choices and actions that have far-reaching consequences.  Whatever the source of our struggles, God will never abandon us to make our decisions alone.  He will reveal himself through the words and actions of others, proclaiming his grace and mercy in unexpected places, providing his light to lead us through the darkness.  When we are faced with a difficult choice, God will be with us, whispering his will for us, revealing his way.

We may not expect to find God in the compromising standards of the world, but God will always find us in unexpected places.  Even when we stray far away and believe ourselves lost and alone, he will be there, showing us his mercy, and leading us home.

Let us pray.  Gracious God, your love and mercy will never depart from us.  Open our senses to your presence, that we may take our instruction from you as we navigate through this confusing world of compromise.  Through Christ our Lord, Amen.