“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress…” (Isaiah 9:1)
Only three months remained until our daughter’s wedding. The venue and the caterer were chosen. The wedding apparel, ready for alterations. The invitations, mailed. At the same time that we were finalizing details for the 02 May wedding, a statewide public health emergency was declared to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Uncertainty set in, followed by tears. The reception date was changed to October, but our daughter and her fiancé opted not to wait. On a brisk Saturday in March, they were married, in the company of a small group. The celebration and honeymoon would need to wait; the newlyweds forged ahead with their new life. So many plans had been turned upside-down. Nevertheless, the earlier days of distress soon turned to unbelievable joy. Our daughter and her husband found out that they are expecting a baby!
At the end of Isaiah 8, we read of the northern tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, suffering through the invasion of the Assyrians: “Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom.” (Isaiah 8:22) Interestingly, Isaiah 9 poses a stark contrast: “Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress…” (Isaiah 9:1) “The people
walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2) God planned to deliver redemption to Israel, as well as to people of all nations, by sending a baby, Immanuel, “God With Us.”
We live in fluid and challenging times. We might, upon occasion, feel surrounded by gloom, distress and darkness. Nevertheless, Jesus, born a baby, bids all who are weary and burdened to come to Him, to find rest for our souls. (Matthew 11:28-30) Praise be to God for the indescribable hope of lasting justice, peace and righteous governance that we have in our Lord Jesus Christ!
For Family Discussion: God gives His people hope during very hard times. What does this tell us about God and His love for us?
For Personal Reflection: What does the “nevertheless” in Isaiah 9:1 tell us about God’s character? Into what areas of life would you like to hear God proclaim a “nevertheless” statement?
by Maureen Gibson