by Pam ela Hawkinst
As we approach the end of the Lenten journey, I am stopped at the beginning of verse 7 of this chapter from Isaiah : “I have set my face like flint …. ” Through the prophet’s imagery, I imagine the face of Jesus, jaw jutting forward and eyes strong, as the time draws near to complete the journey begun earlier, when he first “set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51) . I wonder if lsaiah’s words cross the Lord’s mind. Do they inspire courage? Can they settle his heart?
Our reading spreads before us words of untainted confidence in God . At other times the prophet laments the suffering and humiliation that fall upon God’s servant, but not now. Here, Isaiah draws upon all that stirs in the depths of his spirit, all that solidifies his rock-hard confidence in God’s presence, even while in the hands of hard-hearted enemies.
And so, I imagine Jesus setting his face “like flint” toward Jerusalem. He knows what stretches before him, that he will be scorned and spat upon. He knows that some of his friends will be threatened, and some will become a threat. It is enough to harden anyone else’s heart but not the heart of Jesus. Instead, he will only harden his face, compelled to move forward by an unflinching confidence in God.
In any circumstance or struggle, whether personal or global, we have the promise of God’s presence with us. Yet most of us have faced circumstances where God has seemed absent. But if we, like Jesus, will make a home for God’s word in our hearts, our confidence in God can be strengthened for whatever waits ahead .
God of north, south, east, and west, point our lives this day in the direction that you desire for us. Amen.