“The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens– wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.” (Isaiah 50:4)
One of the precepts of being a spiritual director is that the director of others is also to have a spiritual director of their own. Ministers, counselors, and therapist do not practice and carry out their office with the same caveat. Although I believe they should have such support; not as an optional resource but as a required one. Of course, ministers have other ministers, and church deacons or leaders. Counselors and therapists have colleagues and coworkers. And teachers have other teachers, under most circumstances. To go it alone is hard. But . . . sometimes required.
“The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward.” (Verse 5)
There is not guarantee, actually, that everyone called to service and ministry by the Divine will have a coworker and companion. Think of some of the prophets, major & minor, who were called and prophesied on their own. Maybe that is a hidden part of the definition of a “prophet”, that one is a lone voice among those one is called to speak to. That they do it in the face of opposition and indifference with no one else to support them is a commendation and tribute to them. Of course, they are not completely totally alone – that, the Divine is there.
“I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting. The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me.” (Verses 6 – 8)
Jesus was thought to be a prophet by some during his three year ministry. That he had disciples and followers did not negate the fact that he was alone. That he relied heavily on the Lord God who sent him further defines his authenticity. You might say, beloved reader, and rightly so that he was more than just a prophet. However at this point in the Lenten season that has not been revealed in the story line. But we know. Jesus was not alone just because he was prophet-like. He was alone because he was the Only One like him – in the perfect image of the Lord God and Divine.
“It is the Lord GOD who helps me; who will declare me guilty?” (Verse 9a)
Is this not a turn around change, beloved reader! Me appropriating scripture from the Old Testament and applying it to Jesus! But it fits!!
The nice thing (and important to remember) is that we can place ourselves in these verses too. We can be, and are, called to ministry. Our understanding can be opened. We can resolve to stand firm in our faith and not be deterred or dissuaded. Together with other believers we can establish a faith circle that will endure over time, and pass from one generation to the next. We may be individually called, but we are not alone. May you keep these truths in your heart and soul, beloved reader. And may the Lenten season find you in good Christian company. Shalom & Selah!