Imagining Hope

The Bruce Springsteen song ‘Glory Days’ describes three people sitting at the local bar reminiscing on how life used to be before they hit their dead ends. A former high school baseball star who was brimming with potential is now sipping his beer and dreaming of the past. A divorced mother who used to turn heads as she walked by now drinks alone caught between laughing and crying. A former assembly line worker who can’t get a job thanks to his age now tilts his glass as he remembers the pride he felt working at the Ford plant. Glory days, they’ll pass you by…

Isaiah describes the nation of Israel as a stump in the beginning of our passage this week. What was once a powerful and mighty kingdom in its glory days has now been reduced to nothing more than a stumpy reminder of what used to be. But Isaiah invites his readers to make a 180 degree turn. Instead of reminiscing about the past with bittersweet nostalgia, he invites them to look forward with hope. He paints a vivid picture of new life springing up from the stump and a waving banner which will announce their return to dignity. He invites Israel to do something their hearts haven’t done in ages, he invites them to hope.

When was the last time you hit a dead end? Do you find yourself drifting into memories of the ‘glory days’ gone by? What might you hope for if you let yourself look forward?