The way of the righteous is level;
O Just One, you make smooth the path of the righteous.
In the path of your judgements,
O Lord, we wait for you;
your name and your renown
are the soul’s desire.
My soul yearns for you in the night,
my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
For when your judgements are in the earth,
the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
O Lord, you will ordain peace for us,
for indeed, all that we have done, you have done for us.
O Lord, in distress they sought you,
they poured out a prayer*
when your chastening was on them.
Like a woman with child,
who writhes and cries out in her pangs
when she is near her time,
so were we because of you, O Lord;
we were with child, we writhed,
but we gave birth only to wind.
We have won no victories on earth,
and no one is born to inhabit the world.
Your dead shall live, their corpses* shall rise.
O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
For your dew is a radiant dew,
and the earth will give birth to those long dead.*
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
“O LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for indeed, all that we have done, you have done for us.” I know Isaiah is talking about God’s relationship with the Jewish community overall, but I take these verses personally. As a busy, 21st century, Type A, can-do attitude type, I tend to roll through life with the subconscious mindset that I’m in control. But, really, what do I have that was not given to me? I didn’t raise or educate myself, or choose to be born in a prosperous country, select my own DNA, you name it. All is gift. And Isaiah is right: it’s through God, and God’s grace, that all that we have done is accomplished. Why not spend a minute or two gratefully calling to mind God’s graces in your own life, and some of those folks who have mediated that grace.
—Chris Lowney is author of various books. His most recent is Make Today Matter: 10 Habits for a Better Life (and World) published by Loyola Press.
Lord, there are few things in this world that I’m absolutely certain about. But here is one of them: I know I’m not grateful enough. Thank you for all the blessings that have showered down on me, and that you continue to shower down on me. Remind me to be a more grateful person, one who remembers to thank you every day. Amen.