This week we finished reading Jeremiah and began the Book of Ezekiel. I thought the former reading grew horribly depressing, but the prophet Ezekiel takes God’s wrath to a whole new level. I never imagined that I would yearn for Jeremiah. While Jeremiah’s writings focused on the people’s actions and about how they fell from God’s grace, Ezekiel discussed God’s wrath in ways that are horrifying at best.
So far, I struggle with God’s actions, which appear vengeful and lack grace. I understand the need to correct bad behavior, but slaughtering innocent children? Really? Why destroy the entire Hebrew race? True, the Hebrew people broke the covenant, but forgiveness, redemption, and love are nowhere around.
So, this is the paragraph that I wanted to bring hope into the conversation, but I can’t. It is as if the people appear trapped in a horrific storm with no end in sight. We know the end will arrive, but when and at what cost? How many lives must be sacrificed before God’s fury subsides?
Perhaps we are meant to deal with the fury of the divine storm. We hunker down and Endure the raging seas. Some people remain lost in the debris, while others are not. We try to keep those we love safe through the stormy blast.
Most of us know what it is like to feel ravaged and abandoned. The darkness of hopelessness is overpowering. When we cry out in our deepest sorrows, we feel isolated, cut off from the
Divine Healer. It is not a good place, and we find ourselves frightened, unsure of where to go and what to do next. In our brokenness, the only thing we can do is offer this phrase, “Lord, hear our prayer.”
We all experience a season of advent; the time that we lay in wait for God’s presence. “Oh come, oh come Emmanuel, and ransom us from our torment.” And in this very sullen place, the seeds of hope find their way to solid ground. While we cannot see the bloom immediately, our faith (God with us) will rise out of the dirt and into our lives. Praise be to God that advent ends and a new life begins.