2017 December Issue
of The Sermon Mall

index

God Is Coming

Isaiah 40:1‑11

Stand near a field of too‑tall grass where the ground climbs tip‑toed up. Let your eyes follow the bends and curves of waving stalks as they lean into one another. Search the distant far off, looking for signs of approach. Listen for footfalls and the crunch of leaves in the tree line border of that field. Gather armloads of light catching wintry buds, flowering as they play hide‑and‑seek then fading among the too‑tall grasses.

SHHHH…AHHHHH…..SHHHHH…

This is a time of signs and wonders, hushed moments and startling surprise. Stargazers lift your eyes, night wanderers become alert. Let all those, who scan the heavens or search the seas, now come to attention. Sun worshippers, ghost dancers, plains dwellers, and those who fly on eagles' wings, soar into this assemblage. Listen to the voice that beats out its drum-ike rhythm stirring the cold, hushed air.

THERE, THERE, NOW…COMFORT, COMFORT...HELP IS ON THE WAY. COMFORT, COMFORT...HERE, HERE, NOW...GOD IS ON THE WAY. YOU SHALL BE GATHERED UP AND CARRIED TENDERLY, BY A GOD WHO LOVES YOU GREATLY. YOUR TIME OF SUFFERING IS OVER. YOU HAVE ENDURED ENOUGH PUNISHMENT. COMFORT, COMFORT, MY PEOPLE.

Far off lies the city, blanketed in fitful sleep, unaware that new wind is blowing. Pew sitters, candle lighters, and those who languish in prison cells...bed riders, grate sleepers, the drum beats for you, too. Rise up, stand up, stretch you souls heavenward, a way out of no way is being made now. Mountains and valleys come level. Barriers and obstacles become openings. You shall understand what once baffled and confused you. The promise is about to be fulfilled. Your God is on the way.

How shall you greet your God?

Shall you rather turn your face to the wall in too tight anger and pain? God didn't come when you first commanded, God's has come too late for you.

Or will you hide your eyes in self‑loathing shame and guilt? You gave up on God, developed your own way of doing things, established your own system of control, and became your own Higher Power.

Shall your God catch you unawares lost in worry and anxious fretting? Oh, where, oh where has my little God gone?

Shall you have given up to despondency and depression? Languishing in despair, consumed by numbing substances that create a wall of denial, protecting you from seeing that you even need to know God? Feeling like the prey in Francis Thompson's 19th century English poem, Hound of Heaven...

I fled HIM down the nights, and down the days; I fled HIM down the arches of the years; I fled HIM down the labyrinthine ways Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears I hid from HIM... From among those strong FEET that followed, followed after. Across the margent of the world I fled Now of that long pursuit Comes on at hand the bruit; That VOICE is round me like a bursting sea: "And is thy earth so marred Shattered in shard on shard? Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest ME! Wherefore should any set thee love apart? Seeing none but I makes much of naught" HE said. "And human love need human meriting: How hast thou merited... Of all man's clotted clay, the dingiest clot? Alack, thou knowest not How little worthy of any love thou art! Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee? Save ME, Save only ME? All which I took from thee I did but take, Not for thy harms, But just that thou might'st seek it in MY arms. All which thy child's mistake Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home; Rise, clasp MY hand, and come." Halts by me that footfall: Is my gloom, after all, Shade of HIS hand, outstretched caressingly? "Ah fondest, blindest, weakest! I am HE whom thou seekest! Thou dravest I love from thee, who dravest ME." How shall you greet your God?

Shall you be faroff, snatched up in vain and frenzied stuffing? Having given free reign to your passions and appetites you sing praises to Mammon?

How shall you greet your God?

There is only one way to greet God. As you would greet GOOD NEWS, really GOOD BETTER BEST GOOD NEWS. Greet God with joy and gladness, outstretched arms and humbled heart. For God is great and wonderful, like family, like friends. More perfect that your best friend. More loving than your tenderest lover. More caring than your fondest memory. God's got a special place in that great heart for you, your name is on God's lips. You are the one for whom God has been searching. You are precious and dear to God. Be comforted by the challenge of God's inexplicable love for you. Just as you are, without one plea. Nothing you have thought or done can keep God away from you.

Heaven's hound is on your trail, sniffing you out from your life's joys and sorrows, tracking your scent across eternity's plain, winding through the woods of your wilderness of doubt, offering you fragrances of faith and faithfulness. Your God is coming for you.

Hush now...Shhhhhhhhhhh...

Rev. Amitiyah Elayne Hyman THE PROTESTANT HOUR