A gift of Isaiah’s poetic message is it keeps us honest without making us feel too bad about ourselves. God will continually guide us because, well…we need guidance. Our bones will be made strong because there are places in our lives where we feel weak. We’re promised a satiated life because we will experience seasons when life feels dry and empty and beyond us.
However, I’ll confess, there’s something about the prophet’s words, “and satisfy your needs in parched places,” that I stumble over because they’re too honest. The word “needs” has typically stirred up something within me I’d rather ignore. I don’t like asking myself, “What do I need?” That level of examination puts me where I have to confess where I need help, and asking for help isn’t easy. My guess is it doesn’t come naturally for most of us!
Our need-full places expose us. Needs uncover our strained relationships, our financial woes, our restlessness at work, our slick ability to ignore our traumas, our hidden insecurities, our addictions dressed up as fun, and our spiritual wanderings. Our needs walk hand-in-hand with our vulnerabilities. Our needs point to the broken places we can’t fix with degrees or social constructs. Our needs make us so utterly human, and that is hard.
Buckle up, friends! Lent is a needy season. We reckon with our need for grace, connection, reconciliation, joy, and healing. We sit with our need to be set free and with our need to put down the tools of death we’ve been carrying around. THIS is the season when we feel our “needs in parched places” most deeply. But here’s the good news: THIS is also the season when we acknowledge God’s unfailing power to satisfy those needs. We’ll spend time being exposed during these 40 days, and we’ll undoubtedly bear witness to God’s ability to meet our needs during these 40 days.
THIS is the part of Isaiah’s message I could easily overlook if I let my humanity get the best of me – God satisfies our needs.
Practice naming your needs to God.
Inhale: God, I need you.
Exhale: You are with me.
Rev. Lisa Yebuah is the pastor of Southeast Raleigh Table and serves as the Spiritual Director and Advisor for Inclusion and Equity for the Cabinet and Leadership Team