We are happy to welcome ministry-focused college and seminary students from around the country and overseas to write in June of 2020 for The Park Forum. Each of them is pursuing a career in ministry and received free coaching on their writing as a part of the program. For more information about the program and a profile of each of our student writers, visit our Student Writers Month page.

Today’s student writer is Allison Tinsley, a student at Truett Seminary.

Scripture Focus: Isaiah 54.7-8
“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says The Lord your Redeemer.

Reflection: Restoring Relationship
By Allison Tinsley

We have all seen relationships fail, and many of us have even experienced failed relationships. Some of us even know how it feels for a marriage to fall apart. The heartbreak of losing romantic intimacy causes grief unlike anything else.

God understands this heartbreak and offers hope to those suffering. The prophet Isaiah provides a similar picture of God’s relationship with the nation of Israel. Like the adulterous, promiscuous spouse we see in Hosea’s life (Hosea 1.2), Israel has shown a sinful desire to place their own idols before God. The Israelites have strayed from God and disobeyed him, damaging the relationship. Isaiah repeatedly points to God’s compassion, however (Isaiah 54.7-10), and expresses God’s desire that he be reunited with his beloved people.

Isaiah compares Israel to “a wife who married young” and feels the distress of rejection (Isaiah 54.6). Life for women was difficult in biblical times without a husband. Therefore, God’s redemption here is even more significant. Regardless of how the Israelites have sinned or been unfaithful, God is strong enough to overcome their sin and restore their relationship. God’s wrath will not destroy the nation, but in kindness will turn his people back to himself (Isaiah 54.8).

God proclaims a light at the end of the tunnel for the Israelites. Like in the times of Noah, God’s anger is only temporary (Isaiah 54.9). He promises a time of rebuilding when suffering will be no more (Isaiah 54.11-13). He alludes to a time of freedom without tyranny or terror (Isaiah 54.14). God will be with the people displaying unfailing, unshakable love (Isaiah 54.10).

God’s promises to his people carry implications for us. Suffering persists in this life and often feels overwhelming. Feelings are hurt and relationships are broken beyond repair. Even so, we know that God’s love never fails. His love is consistent despite our consistent failures. We are promised a time without fear, sadness, or illness where we will be reunited with our truest love: Christ.

Gracious God, let us never lose sight of this promise. Remind us of Your love for us, especially throughout times of suffering and pain. Heal us when we are broken and use us in providing healing for those around us. Help us to be led by Your unfailing love in all we do. Amen.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Deliverance belongs to the Lord. Your blessing be upon your people! — Psalm 3.8

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Isaiah 54 (Listen – 3:14) 
Matthew 2 (Listen – 3:18)

Read more about New And Improved
God had once turned away from his people because they were unfaithful, God now promises that he will be their God and they will be his people once again.

Read more about Hitting the Mark of Reconciliation
The gospel has the power to resurrect dead relationships just as it has the power to resurrect our souls and our physical bodies.