The week before I was to leave for college, my father was badly
burned and miraculously survived. My family’s future was suddenly
uncertain. With the help of Furman University’s financial aid office,
I was able to start college on time. Meanwhile, our church and
community supported our family and the family business. My father
returned home months later with a newly energized faith, a renewed
perspective, and a powerful story.
Bruce Feiler suggests that we experience three to five traumatic
transitions over our lifetimes that he calls “lifequakes.” As a new dad,
he experienced cancer, bankruptcy, and a suicidal father. In a TED
Talk, Feiler shares how the power of stories that he collected from
others helped him move from one transition to the next.
The situation Isaiah describes is far worse than most of us have experienced. Jerusalem has been destroyed and the people are taken into captivity, forcing a traumatic lifequake on them all. The prophet tells his audience to not fixate on the good old days, but to consider the example of Abraham, the rock from which you were hewn (v. 1). Chosen by God and sent to an unknown land and future, Abraham and Sarah trusted in God’s promise to become a great nation, despite being childless and far beyond their child-bearing years.
In the prophet’s dire time and circumstance, those seeking the
Lord could look to the power of Abraham and Sarah’s story, and
know that their cries will be heard. They still have value to God.
The hope of their future finds its root in God’s past faithfulness.
Even today, God helps those who experience life’s transitions and
lifequakes to realize the possibilities of a vibrant future.
Who has helped you make it through life’s biggest challenges? How can you help others make it through theirs?
God, thank you for being faithful to us. Help us trust your promises so we will discover that our future is rooted in your faithfulness. Amen.