Isaiah 25:3, 4, 8 (ESV)
Therefore strong peoples will glorify you;
cities of ruthless nations will fear you.
For you have been a stronghold to the poor,
a stronghold to the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat;
for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,
He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the LORD has spoken.
These verses are, of course, speaking about God. Several chapters in Isaiah have been dealing with judgment against the enemies of God’s people. Now the prophecy turns to God’s promises for his people. Her enemies will be brought down. She will be restored, and flourish. The world will be changed forever. “He will swallow up death forever…the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth” (Isaiah 25:8).
People of faith understand and rest in the reality that now is not all there is. There is a future hope. No matter how bad things get here and now, we live in the anticipation of a better day coming. Whatever happens in this world… Whatever pain we live with… Whatever benefit sin seems to offer, it is short lived. To use King David’s words, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Ps 30:5), or to quote the prophet Jeremiah, “I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow” (Jer 31:13).
Hope has always been the unique privilege of the people of God. Circumstances seem unendurable but, God’s “grace is sufficient for you” because his “power is perfected in weakness.” (2Cor 12:9). In the midst of the pain, life sometimes feels like an eternity, yet Psalm 144:4 reminds us that, “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” There will come a day when looking back we will realize that what seemed like an eternity was in fact but a moment. We live in the hope of a better day coming. Esther Kerr Rusthoi wrote the following lyrics to express this great hope:
Sometimes the day seems long,
Our trials hard to bear.
We’re tempted to complain,
To murmur and despair.
But Christ will soon appear
To catch his bride away!
All tears forever over
In God’s eternal day.
It will be worth it all
When we see Jesus!
Life’s trials will seem so small
When we see Christ.
One glimpse of his dear face,
All sorrow will erase.
So, bravely run the race
So, bravely run the race
Till we see Christ.