Week of December 3- “Running Out of Time”
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence—as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil—to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him.
“Oh, that you would tear open the heavens and come down!”
The prophet could have taken those words
right out of my mouth.
Jesus, the situation is desperate—
you know the one—
and I need you.
Whatever is going to happen,
I think it will hurt.
Jesus, it feels like
I’m riding a roller coaster
as it clicks up a hill.
Every second that passes
inches me off the ground,
and makes the impending fall
I know it’s coming, Jesus,
I just don’t know when:
the sudden release—
the immediate weightlessness—
and then the swooping crush
I can’t avoid it.
But Jesus, I wonder—
could you show me
how to enjoy it?
Come sit beside me.
Put your hands in the air.
Let the wind rush across your wounds,
and teach me how to laugh
as time runs out.
Yearning is our desire for something we hope will change our lives. The dream of home ownership. A new job. A new knee. A child, or a lifelong partner.
Anything worth yearning for will likely come with massive implications, rewriting fundamental assumptions or patterns in our lives. That new home has a lawn you have to mow and things you have to repair. That new job requires that period of learning new systems, rules, expectations, and coworkers. That lifelong partner will pinch you as much as they shape you. That new knee—oh, the physical therapy! And let’s not get started on everything the longed-for child requires.
We know that big yearnings lead to big life changes, and we’re willing to accept this because a positive change is worth the effort.
What kind of social change makes you yearn? A fairer world, or one where everyone has enough food to eat? A society where people can speak to each other with respect? A Thanksgiving table that doesn’t descend into pure family madness? A season where you can slow down enough to enjoy your life and the people around you?
In Isaiah’s vision, such large social changes come from God, and they are to be both feared and desired. They bring about trembling like shaking mountains and combustions like igniting brushwood. In this Advent season of yearning, prophets like Isaiah let us know that change, like peace on earth, is going to require at least as much from us as, say, the birth of a child or the painful physical therapy of a knee replacement.
Our faith tells us that God can accomplish such changes whether we are ready or not, and God will. Yet how often do we find ourselves resisting the change because we fear the pain? And how is God drawing us forward into yearning?