One thing that I respect about the ancient Hebrew prophets is their unwavering honesty. Many times God addressed the people regarding their sin, but sometimes the cries and needs of the people were presented to God. At first one might think that this type of bantering between humanity and God is not right and even considered blasphemous. Isaiah challenges God in the lament found in Isaiah 63-64. In speaking with God, Isaiah says, “Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord, and do not remember iniquity forever. Now consider, we are all your people” (Isa. 64:9 NRSV).
I say thank you to Isaiah. I have felt this way on many occasions. I sometimes ask myself, “What have I done God? Why don’t you answer my prayers?” The question of whether we will ever be truly forgiven is always on the front burner. We wonder, “How much longer will we have to pay for what we have done?” We cry out to God and hear nothing but a deafening silence.
The ancient Hebrews knew the feeling of hopelessness very well. They understood what it was like to lose homes, family members, health, etc. Their plight was not so different than ours. We often times feel lost and misunderstood by our creator. We feel as if we have nowhere else to turn. Our hope has left us. Our God is gone.
This season of Advent reminds us to not give up hope. God is still present in the middle of the struggle. Just as Isaiah petitioned God, we can do the same thing. We are reminded that in this season of introspection, we look within ourselves and have honest dialogue with God. We are allowed to hold God accountable for His silence.
God is big enough to handle our sorrows. As a matter of fact, God is so great that he turns our sorrows into joys. King David reminded us that “You (God) have turned my mourning into dancing; You have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever” (Psalm 30:11-12 NRSV). Moving past the gloom and despair of chaos into the creation of joy is the spirit of Advent. We celebrate the expectation of the miracle which set the world on its ear. God broke Divine silence and entered this world in the form of a baby. This incredible event, while at first delivered in a very obscure and remote way, would grow to be the center of our hope.
Our redemption started with the cries of a baby. The cries went unnoticed. This miracle of light broke through the darkness in our souls to restore us to wholeness. This season is about how we moved from darkness to light. We remember who we used to be and give thanks that we are no longer the person of our past. We have been changed and, with the blessings of God, we will never been the same.
As we begin our season of Advent, let us remember to lay all of our cards on the table with God. Let us talk to our creator about everything that keeps us from worshiping fully and freely. We should be as honest as the prophets; sparing nothing from God. Our dialogue can be rich and authentic and sometimes frightening even to ourselves. It is okay to take that journey. God can handle it.