The Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
Sometimes it seems as if God no longer cares for us, as if he has forgotten his people. This is what the ancient Israelites thought and said. However much they cried for grace, no help seemed to appear, and their worst fate was imminent.
But the prophet Isaiah tells Israel that not only has God not ceased to be gracious, but he longs to be gracious to them. As much as they were impatient for his grace, he was (so to speak) impatient to be gracious – he was actually longing to be gracious. God was not indifferent toward them, for him it was a pain to have to wait until he could again reveal his grace to them.
What does this mean? If God is waiting to be gracious, there must be a reason why he is waiting, and that reason must lie with us. He sees something in us, something that is not right, something that impedes his grace. And so he has to wait until this impediment is removed. The Israelites readily sought false help elsewhere – from neighboring nations or from other gods. How then could God be gracious and help them? Yet God still longed to show mercy.
We in our unrest also try a thousand things, not realizing that by so doing we get farther and farther away from God. But God longs to bless us. He wants to have our entire heart and our undivided trust, so that he can be gracious to us. But when we don’t give these to him, God has to wait; and we, too, have to wait in misery.
Ah, that we might not make the Lord wait any longer, so that he can bring his great help of which we are in such dire need! He is ready, he wants to be merciful to us.
O Lord, show us your mercy. Take away everything that hinders your grace and keeps you from being gracious to us! Amen.
Johann Christoph Blumhardt