Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she delivered a son. Who has heard of such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be delivered in one moment? Yet as soon as Zion was in labor she delivered her children.Shall I open the womb and not deliver? says the Lord; shall I, the one who delivers, shut the womb? says your God. Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her— that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious bosom.
The image of mother is very strong in this passage as the author refers to Israel returning to their homeland after the time of exile. This is the time to rejoice and celebrate for everything that they need is present.
The return from exile was a long time coming through many struggles and hardships. The book of Isaiah takes the reader through all of these from pre-exile to a time of exile and then post-exile. It is a story of the people and one that spans a long length of time. As Isaiah comes to a close, the story of the people does not. They have returned to their promised land and it is here that they may be satisfied with everything that is necessary for a good life.
We too, enter into these dark times of life where we may feel as though we have been exiled. God is present in those times whether we sense it or not, just waiting for the right time for us to return to God’s love.
Let us pray.
Loving God, we pray for those times in our lives that are dark and at times appear hopeless. May you break through the darkness with your light that brings hope and promise. AMEN.