Formations 01.16.2022: Our God Reigns!

Isaiah 52:7-12

Just a couple of days into the new year, a friend posted this on social media: “I have no faith left in humans to do anything but serve themselves.” It was a dark note on what we usually view as a day of brightness and hope.

The past two years have been difficult—the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still spiking with new variants; the continued racial strife heightened by tensions with police; gun violence; riots; political division; climate change resulting in extreme weather…and more. We have definitely seen the worst of humanity in these times. Articles about race and COVID still routinely garner the “laughing” emoji in my Facebook feed, signaling that many readers will never take these issues seriously. No wonder my friend feels hopeless about humans.

I would, however, urge her to shift her focus. There are many selfish people in our lives. But there are also many kind, generous, thoughtful, and compassionate people who try to see the good in others and who want to help in whatever way they can. There are people of faith who, in spite of the struggles and sadness in the world, believe in God’s promise of peace, good news, and salvation (v. 7). They are certain that God reigns, even when it seems like the foundations of the earth are crumbling. They know that God has comforted and redeemed them (v. 9) and that God will go before them and behind them (v. 12).

Instead of despairing over the state of the world and its people, they stubbornly cling to the promise of God’s ultimate reign. They refuse to give up hope in the face of a devastating reality. These are the people we should look to when we feel discouraged and hopeless. May we hear them lifting up their voices and singing for joy, reminding us that the Lord is here (v. 8).

Discussion

• What are your honest reflections on the past two years?
• How do you feel when you think about the state of the world?
• Where do you find hope in times that seem hopeless?
• How do you maintain your faith in humanity?
• How do you maintain your faith in our God who reigns?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.

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