“Those who hope in the Lord renew their strength, they put on wings like eagles.”
Wednesday, 9 December 2020
Many will remember the Olympic champion Eric Liddell pondering these verses in the movie Chariots of Fire. He remembers the passage when he is put before compromise, when encouraging those overwhelmed by life’s difficulties and when dreams lie in the balance. In the face of it all, he hears God’s call to do the right thing and that leads to new possibilities.
We have lived through a difficult year. The virus has devastated our economy, hopes and dreams have fallen apart. Poverty has increased, violence against women and children has not only increased but also become more sadistic. The corrupt have stolen from the poor in ways that were thought inconceivable and on an unconscionable scale. Our realities are indeed bleak.
I have often recalled the words of Edmund Burke about the French Revolution, which could just as well have been penned in our times. “An event has happened, upon which it is difficult to speak, and impossible to be silent.” Many, surrounded by these pathologies have grown weary, lost hope, become cynical and opted to remain silent. Yet even as these dark things have happened, many have also found the courage to speak up, to hold wrongdoers accountable, they have called out racists and abusers.
They have shown that even when the contours of history are dismal history can be changed one voice, one bold action at a time. Hope is implicit in such actions. Their ripples stretch far and their potential is great. It is of such that Isaiah speaks. Those right human wrongs, who stand up for the marginalised, who pull down the ruthless tyrants from their thrones, they will, God promises, be renewed. They will not struggle in vain.
What a source of hope in these difficult times. What an antidote to the pessimism and cynicism of our times. The crib in a stable in a marginal town reminds us that new beginnings are often found in small acts where no one expects them. Such is the way God orders history.