The other night at our small group meeting, we were discussing how God has been at work in our lives. The discussion was framed by Isaiah 40.18-31. I had preached on this particular passage the Sunday before (our small group is always a “Christian conversation” based on the previous Sunday’s sermon passage).
Isaiah 40 is an oracle of hope for Israel, who is being taken into Babylonian captivity. In v. 18-31 God has reminded Israel that they have no need for idols, for God will be their savior. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (v. 31). God reminds Israel that the assurance for his redemptive promise is found in the history of God at work. Verses 21-26a read:
Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.” Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name.
So in our small group we began discussing how God has been at work in our own lives in order to grasp how we can hope in God for the future, even in times of suffering. Glenn, an older gentleman, who is a retired preacher and helped plant several Churches of Christ in the north, began to speak. He told how he and two other men met one day underneath a tree to discuss a college campus that had recently been abandoned in the town of York, Nebraska. The result of this initial conversation would eventually become York College of York, NE (a Christian college affiliated with Churches of Christ).
Eventually another older man, Gerald, spoke up. He told about his family moving to Wichita, Kansas where Gerald and his wife became Christians. Shortly after becoming Christians they learned about York College and believing it was a Christ worthy cause, they began supporting York College.
Immediately Peter, a younger man, spoke up and told the group that he and his wife met at York College. What became clear was that God was not just at work in our lives, though he surely was. God was at work in our lives in some unseen ways to us yet they were ways that were interconnected, which served to bless us all.
Praise be to God, who was, and is, and is to come!