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do not be afraid…

“’You are my servant, I have chosen you, I have not rejected you,’ do not be afraid, for I am with you; do not be alarmed, for I am your God. I give you strength, truly I help you, truly I hold you firm with my saving right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

The Bible that sits on my bedside table has a multitude of markers sticking out from the edges of its pages. Strips of light blue paper mark passages that have spoken to me or have had special meaning to me during periods of my life. The above passage from Isaiah is not one of them.  The next page, Isaiah chapter 43 is marked. Isaiah 41 is not. My Bible should not easily open to the page before where a bookmark is located, but it does – over and over. The words above seem to jump off the page lately.  It’s as if God is repeating those words to me, saying them again and again, burning them into my memory.  Faith tells me there is a message in His words. Experience tells me the message will be revealed in His time. Curiosity tells me there are clues and I can figure it out. Satan tempts me with worry over what I’m going to need strength for. And isn’t the first thing someone says before they deliver devastating news, “Don’t be alarmed, but…?

So I sit here, my mind whirling with the possibilities of what God is trying to say to me – or what God IS saying to me and I’m trying to understand.

Isaiah, especially the later chapters comprise many of the readings during Advent, the part of the Liturgical year when we, as Christians prepare the way for the coming of Christ at Christmas. They are words that remind us to be vigilant, to be prepared, to get ready. Okay.

Ready for what?

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