These are words of promise to the Hebrew people who have been exiled from their homeland and longing to return to Jerusalem. Speaking through the prophet, God knows that the return will not be easy. The city lies in ruins and it will take a lot of work to rebuild the lives they once knew. These verses are a reminder that God continues to be actively engaging in and with creation. The unfolding of creation wasn’t a one-time event, but instead is an ongoing process of life, loss, and re-creation.
Bringing order out of chaos is not something we can do on our own. The work is too hard. We lack the imagination it requires. We become weary and discouraged, but passages like these are a word of hope. Even when it feels like the world around us is crumbling, God invites us into the creative process of new life, empowering and strengthening us for the task ahead.
Think of a time in your life that seemed impossible to get through. How did you manage to keep putting one foot in front of the other? In what ways did God show up for you – in friends or family, in glimpses of beauty, in inner strength and clarity you didn’t realize you had?
Today, notice a bird in flight and imagine the breath of God lifting the wings, allowing it to soar. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the strength, endurance, and renewal that God continually imparts.