The Marvelous Design

You are my God,
I extol you, I praise your name;
for you have carried out your excellent design,
long planned, trustworthy, true.

A mighty people gives you glory,
for you are a refuge for the poor,
a refuge for the needy in distress,
a shelter from the storm,
a shade from the heat.
-- Isaiah 25:1, 3

ISAIAH OFFERS A PRAYER of thanksgiving in chapter 25, a prayer on an exalted but extremely realistic and concrete note. "Thanks for what has been and is." Thanks also for what will be. A strange sort of thanksgiving! It takes into account and includes most awful events that touch -- with a finger of death -- on Isaiah's life.

"You are my God" (verse 1). A revolutionary word indeed, the clearing away of a dense forest of idols. The toppling of false gods, who are in many lives, and as a plain matter of conduct, "my gods."

The verse sings with reasoned clear-sighted ecstasy. The true God has put into the mouth of the prophet a flame of truth. The prophet cries out, knowing Someone is attending.

For most of us, this is a leap in the dark. We neither see nor hear nor touch nor taste; the sense of God is neutral on our tongue and in our mind. It does not touch the heart; the emotional life is not so much drained away as directed elsewhere. We give our hearts, hardly blamefully, to those we know and love -- because we see and hear and touch and kiss. So we plod along, hoping against hope that one day we may pass "from shadows and images into the truth."

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