“Thus says the Lord, if you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; if you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday.”Isaiah 58:9-10
Do you often feel there is a dark cloud hovering over your head? Or perhaps a dark shadow blocking any light from entering your life? In a moment? In a season?
In Isaiah 58:9-10, the Lord tells us that if we remove ourselves from bondage of all these things that weigh heavily on our shoulders, “light shall rise for you in the darkness.” If we remove ourselves from the bondage of lies and maliciousness, “light shall rise for you in the darkness.”
I want to invite you to close your eyes and imagine the landscape in the Garden of Eden. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell?
I wonder if today’s reading in Isaiah 58 is leading us towards our own Garden of Eden this Lenten season. A space where the light shines, the springs flow, the gardens shout life and God’s presence is in the midst of all of it. We feel no burdens, no worries. There are no lies or malicious voices, within ourselves and outside of ourselves. We are one with our surrounding and one with God, removed of all darkness.
Perhaps these are our first steps in Lent, to lay down our burdens at the foot of the cross, speak nicely to ourselves and others, listen to God’s voice of truth versus the lies of the enemy. It is then that the light begins to shine through and the darkness disappears. We enter into our own Garden of Eden, allowing God to renew our strength to send us out and minister to those in need providing spiritual and physical food, shelter, and clothing.
This Lent, I invite you to be intentional. To not just check the boxes of your Lenten requirements of prayer, alms giving and fasting. But to go deeper and let the light shine in the dark places, revealing the Garden of Eden in your life so that you can fulfill God’s calling in yourself and others. When Easter arrives, the lilies in your personal Garden of Eden will bloom, bringing life to all aspects in your life.
May the Lord bless you this day and throughout your journey.